Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review #5 (assorted, like assorted biscuits)

If you're a Literature in English student like me in Cambridge A Levels, you're required to sit for a Paper 7. This Paper 7, which admittedly sounds very harmless in itself (in fact, it's quite catchy). It's not so harmless when you're required to "comment and appreciate" texts you probably have not read before. It's the surprise paper. So, every week, we rush-read (emphasis on the rush) a book and we gather to discuss the said book in our little Book Club of sorts. I quite like it, it's an escape and it helped knocked down some of the thousands of books that are gaining dust in my bookshelf. Well, okay, maybe not thousands, maybe about 50 books. I don't like the rush though (I'm a languid reader) and it impeding my revision for tests (er, I'm weak like that).


Some thoughts on the books I've read because I miss doing book reviews a.k.a I want to procrastinate:


About: An orphan named Pip's adventures and growth into a gentleman after receiving a large sum of money. (432 pages)

Honestly, the thing I didn't have for this book was great expectations (harhar, I'm so smart and funny). I bought it because it was one of Dicken's magnum opus and nothing more. I read the first few pages with a yawn, thinking it to be impossibly dry. Then, as I plowed through pages and pages, it was to my liking and eventually, loving! I found it to be covertly comical, there were some very funny phrases and names. It was heart-warming and heart-wrenching at times. I related to Pip (to my horror), liked Pip (even worse), and I hated him (yay?). I sort of understood where he was coming from but nevertheless, hated him for being an ingrate. Mrs. Havisham freaked and irritated the butts out of me, spoiled Estella garnered my well-deserved disdain (I can't imagine her being beautiful, I just can't). Of course, I liked Joe, the good man who was a constant in Pip's changing life. It does get a bit lengthy but that's classic  literature for you. It was a rewarding, spiffingly good read, an English classic never to be missed. ★★★★★




About: A story about a boy named Amir and his many relationships: his father and his friend-servant Hassan. Set against the backdrop of the Afghan and Soviet wars and the Taliban's terrorism, Amir finds redemption and his voice.

This book remained dormant in my shelf for the past two years. Yes, the outrage. I've never had the desire to read it. Shanan, Kristal and Shufy all pushed me to read it before but apparently, I can't be moved till last month. Do not read this book unless you're prepared to have your emotions stirred, pummeled and thrown against you. I winced at some very terrible scenes, cried through some more terrible scenes.  We unanimously agreed that we hated Amir for his repeated cowardice and insecurities and loved Hassan for his unrealistic loyalty. I do hate Amir, but he's so... human with his many faults that I wonder if I have the right to hate him. I was apprehensive with the father, Baba but I pitied him regardless. He's a menopausal man, I dare say.  I have to admit, though, that after one review from a native Afghan, spoiled the powerful reverie. He said that the tear-jerking scenes in the book were a cheap ploy to gain sympathy from Western readers. I like to stand grounded with my opinions but that comment spoiled the aftermath a little for me. Still, you have to read it to decide and decide to read it! (harhar, I'm so smart and funny again!) ★★★★




About: An aristocratic woman's affair with a working class man, the gamekeeper, Oliver. The book is about appeasing the mind and the body. Basically, Constance's need for sexual pursuits after her husband is paralysed waist-down.

Yes, kids, that is a boob. This novel was highly controversial and was banned for its descriptive sex scenes and foul language... which to someone like me who have read some of the most explicit romance novels is not very explicit at all. The "meh" sex scenes aside, I found the story interesting. The prose was lyrical (I wonder if it's the audiobook) and Lawrence's style needs to commended. I found the characters weak, all of them irritated me. Aristocrats those days were insufferable, pompous and probably, ugly. Her husband, is the worst. He is vain, delusional and impotent (up there and down there). Oliver may be a working class man, but he does not have the stereotypical qualities that come with the title. He's what I'd like to call a "quiet noble". I approve! Oh, and, I cannot believe that that was how sexual intercourse was with aristocrats. How unfortunate! Many found it funny or redundant but I thoroughly recommend this if you're looking for something to pass time with. ★★★1/2





Cool cover ;)
About: Crime mystery concerning the hound of the Baskervilles with everyone's favourite duo Holmes and Watson.

Maybe it was because I rush-read it or because I didn't have the actual physical book (I read from a screen). Or because I read most of it when I'm doing something else ie. drying my hair, applying moisturiser. I adore Holmes and his adventures in the books but I didn't find this one to be as impressive as Doyle's other Holmes stories -- and apparently, this was the "best". Am I wonky? It was cleverly plotted, but there weren't anything... massive. Thus, I have nothing massive to say about this one. I would think that people will like this more than Lady Chatterley's Lover or Great Expectations. Still,  I'm disappointed, I'm sorry (Shufy and Kim) :(
★★









The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my most loved books. Can you believe that I reviewed the book on imCaely three years ago?! I love doing reviews, but now I have a price to pay. It's 11pm and I have two tests to study for (I finished Law but the other one I barely skimmed the surface and what if I forget Law?! Yikes)

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