Sorry for the long post in advance, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book about museums and antiquities and I forgot how much I love them and how much they make me think!
This book has been on my to-be-read shelf since July of 2011 and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it! I will never forget my first Anthropology class in undergrad and the professor going off on a tangent about the looting of the museums after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It pretty much guaranteed I would be an Anthropology major. (I later switched to cultural anthropology and focused on gender in the media, but still the people were awesome!) The intrigue, the drama, the affairs and the crimes, it could be a spy novel if it were fiction and not fact! This book will count as a bonus book for my 2013 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.
What’s important to note is that this book is not academic, Waxman wrote the book for a general audience and in this she succeeds. There are very few things that would go above someone’s head who doesn’t have a degree or a heavy interest in Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology or Art History. She, or her editors, appear to have been very aware of this and kept to the journalistic research intent of the book.
However, this also work against her and ultimately I felt the entire purpose of writing the book got lost. Someone on Goodreads tagged the book as ‘ending goes south’ and that’s an apt description. Waxman keeps building the crescendo and it gets to a point where you just want her to tell you what happens. And then she reminds you that all of this is still happening and things are still changing rapidly totally dampens the bang that could’ve ended the book.
WordPress decided to move this post to the trash bin and I, assuming it was duplicate draft, permanently deleted it. The first three paragraphs are verbatim as I was able to recover them via caching, however after that is a poor substitute of what I spoke about previously.
I had to add this to my Classics Club list because of its reference in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. I wish I would’ve spaced things to read Northanger Abbey immediately before or after, but I didn’t and I’m sure I will enjoy it just as much when I next read it.
The Mysteries of Udolpho counts for every challenge I’m currently participating in. It is first and foremost the 20th book in my Classics Club list and signifies my 1/5th completion (right at the year mark, so keep an eye out for a longer post later this week)! In addition it counts for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge, Back to the Classics Challenge and through a bit of questionable math as a bonus book for my Tea and Books Reading Challenge (the physical copies average out to 666 pages).
I can’t wait for the next in this series to come out!
When it does, I’m going to re-read the first three all over again because there were so many details I only vaguely recalled AND their just fun reads! (Although this might not happen as The House of Hades‘ scheduled publication is August 2013, but I hope to get the chance!)
From what I do recall from the first two books, this is definitely more action packed and definitely not lacking. However, in the end it was just as much a tease as the others. For the entire book I held out hope that some of the major plot lines of the series would be wrapped up, but only one of them was (which was definitely nice). I was, however, very glad that the seven demigods from the prophecy were finally together and the teen angst in the book definitely added to the plot (although I’ve yet to read an author who does teen angst as well as J.K. Rowling).
What’s great is Riordan is slowly perfecting his new style of writing (third person narration) and I think he’s improved over the last few of his novels. In addition he’s stuck with his strengths of weaving disparate stories (and cultures) together and creating a crazy cacophony of non-stop action.
I have to say I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. It was an easy read and even though it felt like nothing happened, and I remember the movie being very slow because of this, the book went by quickly. I’m still not sure I fully understand the purpose or premise of the story. I guess it’s somewhere between a murder mystery/thriller, told from the murders point of view, and a comedy of errors.
I have never read anything by Patricia Highsmith, but her writing was easy to follow and her descriptions were, I felt, better than her action sequences. I do know there are three additional novels in the Ripley series, but I don’t think I will go out of my way to read them. This first one was enough for me, but if Highsmith’s writing had had more of an impact and not left me just sort of blase at the end of the book I would definitely want to check them out. Surprisingly I had more of a desire to find out more about Ripley after the end of the film, which is distinctly different unless it’s blending in parts from another book. (Anyone know?!)
I will definitely be interested in book groups take on this novel as the film stayed pretty close to the book but only hyper-exaggerated a few aspects, such as the potential for homosexuality and the seeming instability of Tom Ripley towards the end of the novel.
There are few books that I finish reading and truly regret not having read them earlier in life, and this is one of them. However, I’m also glad I haven’t read it previously as I truly doubt I would’ve appreciated the story or the characters as much as I did.
I expected the reading to take longer than the last few books I read, but it didn’t. I discovered Alcott’s editors specifically requested a book for young women and this so she wrote Little Women.
I identified most with Jo, as I feel most people do but I could be wrong. Perhaps it is her often times uncouth and startlingly simple view of the world, of right and wrong, of black and white, but her character provides a great antithesis to all of the other sisters. And although she changes and has her own faults, to me, she shows the most humanness. And Alcott summed this up saying, “But, you see, Jo wasn’t a heroine, she was only a struggling human girl like hundreds of others, and she just acted out her nature, being sad, cross, listless or energetic, as the mood suggested” (loc 5977).