Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Secret Agent

This is the book I'm reading at the moment online at The Gutenberg Project.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Hound of the Baskervilles

I don't like to be confined to a list made by someone else so I'm breaking away for a bit and reading some classic books I'm interested in that didn't make the "Top 100" list. This is one of them. It is probably the most famous of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels about, the oh so famous, Sherlock Holmes. It's about 130 pages long, so it's a pretty quick took me less than a week to get through it.

The story is about the death of Charles Baskerville. He is rumored to have been killed by the legendary "Hound of the Baskervilles," a demon hound who kills the heirs to the Baskerville estate. There is evidence that this is what happened, and rumors are flying, but Sherlock and Watson are not superstitious and know that there has to be an explanation that does not involve the paranormal. The book was classic Holmes. So complex, and everything comes together quickly at the end. As usual there's a very logical explanation for all of the craziness, and the reader along with Watson feels a little slow for not figuring it out without the aid of Sherlock Holmes.

I've read a few of the short stories in preparation for the movie that is coming out this December, but I wanted to dig in further. I'm glad I did. This was a great read. My future kids will definitely grow up reading Holmes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wuthering Heights

I recently read the "Twilight" series by Stephanie Meyer, and Bella's favorite book is Wuthering Heights. I'd never read it so I figured I'd give it a go. The book wasn't at all what I thought it would be, but the writing was excellent and held my attention. I read the book online at Project Gutenberg. Check it out. If you're into psychology and how people's minds work this story is fascinating! The author does an amazing job of portraying every ones motivation behind what they do. If you're wanting to read something lighthearted this is NOT the book for you. It's all dark and dreary.

It's the story of Heathcliffe who is an orphan adopted by Cathy's family. Heathcliffe isn't treated well by his new family, even though the father tries to force everyone to like him. He ends up being a wild youth and after the father dies, the full wrath of the siblings is brought upon him. He and Cathy fall in love, but after a misunderstanding Heathcliffe runs away and Cathy ends up marrying a neighbor boy. Heathcliffe comes back and is resentful that Cathy chose someone over him.

Everything in the story stems from Heathcliffe's resentment of his treatment as a youth and his bitterness that Cathy didn't marry him. It's a big ridiculous mess. Most of the main characters die. Everyone's lives are ruined. Every time someone comes in contact with Heathcliffe it's a catastrophe. There is a bit of happiness in the end, but not enough to redeem the downward spiral that is the rest of the book.

I liked the point of view from which the story is told. The story is being told by a servant to a tennant who is renting a house near the heights that is owned by the family. It gives the story a great perspective. All of the crazyness of everyone else is being related by a sane person who has lived through the whole experience. I think that's what keeps the book from being too moody. Since the narrator is removed, you hear about all the emotion but it isn't the narrators first hand emotions. I would read it again for sure.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On The Road

Part 1: Summary: Sal meets Dean who is apparently a major character since Sal keeps mentioning him, but Dean still hasn't seemed to play any kind of major role after reading a third of the book. After many a manic and drunken night with freinds in New York, Sal decides to go across country from his home in New York to San Francisco. He stops and meets up with friends in Denver, and after a few weeks of mooching and partying goes on to San Francisco where he stays with his buddy Remi. They work together as night watchmen. Plans to work on a ship and travel don't materialize and things end on a sour note. Sal then meets a mexican girl, Terri, and they have a fling, but the two part ways because they can't get enough money together for the both of them to get to New York. Sal takes a bus to Phillidelphia and then hitch hikes back to New York, starving most of the way.

Reaction: So far Dean seems to be a pretty typical guy, with pretty typical experiences. He's always making plans with his friends, and has these great ideas about what things should be like, but they never turn out the way he imagines. He himself isn't anything special, and he seems to live vicariously through his more intersting friends (who are blown up to god-like proportions in his mind but are really nothing more than losers). He is happiest when he lives in the moment, like with Terri, but he eventually makes plans that don't work out. His major downfall is "the grass is greener" mentality. I like to read for entertainment and so far I'm not that entertained. For something to be artistic I believe it has to be unusual in some way, and there isn't anything strikingly unusual about this story. There is something flat about the plot line, the mood of the story is low, and it isn't fast paced at all. It has yet to evoke any kind of emotion.