Book 460: Ulysses – James Joyce

joyce-james-ulyssesIt’s been three weeks since my last post, but obviously it was worth it. At the end of the month I’ll have a two month recap, but for now you just have to bask in the glory of knowing someone who has completed the infamous Ulysses!

It only took a little over four months, but if you remember I started way back in June with the Serial Reader (app website). Serial delivers 10-15 minute sections of the book daily to you and you make your way through the book. I had concerns about reading the book this way especially with remembering details from previous issues, but overall I had a pretty good experience. This one had 109 sections based on my preference and the first half was great to read by serial, but the last two sections weren’t quite as easily read.

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Book 451: Behind A Mask – Louisa May Alcott

Alcott, Louisa May - Behind a MaskNow THIS is a classic that people should be reading. Scandal. Intrigue. Drama. Seriously, I don’t know why other people haven’t read it. I was glad to see at least one other person (Lee Ann at Lily Oak Books) has read it as part of the Classics Club! This is my halfway point of my Classics Club journey so YAY Book 50!

These are nothing like Little WomenLittle Men and Jo’s Boys.Lee Ann rightfully compares these to books by the Brontë’s. I can definitely see this when it comes to Anne Brontë’s works, but I haven’t quite finished reading all of Charlotte’s. I’m struggling to figure out what it’s most like and really what comes to mind is something more along the lines of Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary.

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Book 426: Many Waters (Time Quintet #4) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Many Waters (Time Quintet #4)L’Engle went right past allegory and straight up tells a biblical tale, the tale of Noah and the ark, in this book.  Duh, I mean look at the cover, why I didn’t make that connection when I started re-reading or remember it is beyond me. Strangely enough, I didn’t mind the story at all. I think it’s because “god”/”El” took a back seat and it focused more on the people in the story rather than the morals of the story.

I also need to say I have to eat my words for the abrupt ending this time. L’Engle did it again with less than five pages left she completely wrapped everything up, but this time it made sense. A lot of the story began wrapping up well before the last few pages, but the ultimate story and the return to modern-day happened over three pages max. The abruptness of it was necessary in that is how the twins experienced it and it’s only fair we the reader do so as well. Kudos to you L’Engle for keeping me on my toes.

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Book 425: A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3)It’s very fitting this is published on February 29. This book is all about time and leaping backward and forward in time. Four year’s isn’t a lot of time the older you get so they seem to happen much more frequently, but growing up four years was a LONG time to wait for something as exciting as an extra day of the year. Okay, on to the book.

I’m sure you’re all tired of me saying it, but I had to put it at the front this time because it’s really driving me crazy! After three books: the denouement needs to be longer! UGH! Invariably, L’Engle wraps up the entire story in less than ten pages with a bit of a and this and this and this type narrative. It’s not bad, it’s just frustrating. I want the details. I want to know why things happened. I want to know how they happened and not just the hints that she leaves. It’s a little too deus ex machina for me.

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Book 424: A Wind In The Door (Time Quintet #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2)Picking up not long after A Wrinkle in Time, this book starts off with just as much intrigue and mystery as the first! If I would’ve remembered how easy these were to read and how entertaining they were, I would’ve re-read these a long time ago. Seriously, I’m devouring them and loving every minute of it. This will count for the 47th book of my Classic’s Club list!

Although powerful, this one didn’t quite stack up to the first in the series. I think it’s a combination of parts of it taking place in such a foreign setting and that about half-way through I once again had the thought about how good versus evil as an archetype isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get a bit exhausting if you read too many in a row. This series, like many others, at heart deals with dark versus light/good versus evil/heaven versus hell. There are dozens I’ve read on this blog that deal with this from young adult to classic literature. Where they separate themselves is the story they tell and how they chose to portray the battle this time.

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Book 423: A Wrinkle In Time (Time Quintet #1) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A Wrinkle In Time (Time Quintet #1)Let’s add this to the “How have I only ever read this once over a decade ago pile.” (That list gets longer and longer every time I look.) I’ve had these books since high school and only ever read them once. I’m so glad I added them on my Classic’s Club, the 46th book read, and am REALLY looking forward to reading the rest.

I somehow missed the fifth book, An Acceptable Time, when I read them the first time so that one will be completely new to me which is very exciting! I’m now torn on whether I should hold on to my copies or donate them so someone else can have the great joy of experiencing L’Engle’s incredible genius.

Aside from L’Engle using the maligned “It was a dark and stormy night.” to open the novel (buck those trends!), I think what really impressed me re-reading this work was L’Engle’s language. I know many authors do this, but I appreciate that fantasy/science fiction writers who write to young adults in particular (like Rachel Hartman) don’t dumb down their language. Not only does L’Engle write about incredibly complex scientific principles, but she uses language that a family as smart as the Wallace’s would use! It was refreshing to read such high language written so easily.

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Book 395: Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller

Miller, Henry - Tropic of CapricornI didn’t think it was possible, but I liked this one even less than Tropic of Cancer. Seriously, I was in no way a fan of this book. The amount of raunchy sleazy descriptions in Tropic of Capricorn, if possible out weight those in the first novel.

The only thing I can truly say I’m grateful for is that I got it off my shelf where it’s languished since the 2010 Boston Book Festival (it was the last one!). It also counts toward my Classics Club list so yay for that too!

I can’t even pretend it’s hard to say why I didn’t like this book, it really was just too much sex, misogyny, sexual assault and crass language. When you add in the stream-of-consciousness I’m surprised I even got through the book. It’s no wonder the book was banned in America (Wikipedia link) for 30 years. I don’t believe in book banning or censorship, but this really tested my limits.

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