Review: One Hundred Great Books in Haiku by David Bader

In the sixteenth century, Japanese monks developed the haiku, a poem consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables. Now, in “The Loose Canon”, David Bader applies this ancient poetic form to “100 Great Books”.

From Homer to Milton to Dostoyevsky, the entire literary canon is finally within reach of even the shortest attention spans. The formal requirements of the haiku have, admittedly, necessitated a few cuts, such as characters, plot, dialogue and descriptive passages. Still, these are small sacrifices in view of the huge savings in time and shelf space.

Avoid eyestrain and deforestation and show off your literary prowess at parties. It’s the perfect gift for today’s busy reader.

Review

It’s not often I read humour. Not because I don’t have a sense of humour, but because it’s more… selective. So when I pick up a book categorised as humour, I appreciate it all the more when it’s capable of getting a chuckle out of me. One Hundred Great Books in Haiku very easily got several chuckles and a laugh from me. Continue reading

Fun Fridays: The Booklovers by The Divine Comedy

This song is by the band The Divine Comedy. I barely know who they are, but I know about this song, it’s from their Promenade album for anyone who is interested and it lists over seventy authors. I think this song may be more entertaining to particular humour and reading tastes, but even so, there’s also a lot of reading ideas you can take from this as well.

These are the authors mentioned if you wish to check any of them out; Continue reading

Review: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Can you trust yourself when you don’t know who you are? Syme uses his new acquaintance to go undercover in Europe’s Central Anarchist Council and infiltrate their deadly mission, even managing to have himself voted to the position of ‘Thursday’. In a park in London, secret policeman Gabriel Syme strikes up a conversation with an anarchist.

Sworn to do his duty, when Syme discovers another undercover policeman on the Council, however, he starts to question his role in their operations. And as a desperate chase across Europe begins, his confusion grows, as well as his confidence in his ability to outwit his enemies. But he has still to face the greatest terror that the Council has – its leader: a man named Sunday, whose true nature is worse than Syme could ever have imagined…

Review

The reason I picked up The Man Who Was Thursday was because of the title, what a long and interesting title I thought. The reason I kept reading it was because of the characters and G.K. Chesterton’s interesting use of words and ides. The reason I finished it? In all honesty, I still haven’t figured that out. Continue reading

3 In 1: Sherlock Holmes, Spirit Bound & Last Sacrifice

I don’t really have the time at the moment to be able to post proper reviews of the last books I’m reading for the year so instead I’m going to do a short summary of thoughts on three of them, hence the three in one. This might be a new sporadic occurrence in the new year when I finish my break and get back to writing again.

Note: Two of the books are the last two in a series (The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead) and unfortunately have spoilers. Please keep that in mind before deciding to read this post because it’s hard to avoid spoilers in the tail end of a series and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone if they don’t wish for it. Those two are the last two summaries to help avoid the spoilers.

One last thing: If you’re after the synopsis for the books all of the pictures lead to them on other sites (GoodReads and VA Books).

A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of The Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I love the character Sherlock Holmes. I even love the character Watson, which you think would be great for reading the books, but it really is a bit of a problem. The problem is like the majority of people I have been introduced to those characters via other media and loved them from those, when I finally got to read the book (it comprises of two stories) I was a tad disappointed because it bored me.

I think if it wasn’t for my love of those characters I would never have finished reading it, but luckily they saved it for me. It was not only that though, but also Doyle’s idea. Here is this man writing in the late 1800s and he had such great ideas of deducing and scientific know how. I realise that it was the 19th century and there were some great advancements for civilisation at the time, but it’s still great to read something that can be considered visionary in some parts especially when it comes to the identification of blood.

If you haven’t read these books about Sherlock Holmes and want to then I suggest not reading them based on a love of the characters, but for the story itself.

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

I started out thoroughly enjoying this series, eating it up and plowing through the books, but I think a combination of story line and not reading in quick succession once again has left me not being as engrossed as last time. Don’t get me wrong, I still read these books pretty quickly and still had a hard time putting them down, but I didn’t feel anywhere near as much enjoyment as I did with the first few books.

Once again Richelle Mead has shown she is a great writer in that the plot is well formed, her characters are well defined, there is character development as well, and there is enough detail without it being over the top. It really is a book for those who are avid fans of the VA series and who do not mind love triangles.

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

I hate love triangles. To me, if they don’t outright ruin a story, they damage it to an extent. I think there is enough drama in fictional relationships (and real ones) without there being the added drama of love triangles. It’s overkill, in a lot of cases unnecessary, and usually highly predictable. I understand that Rose needed that in some ways to learn certain lessons, but I always feel that there is another way for characters to develop and learn without the aide of a love triangle.

I also hate it when a person who cheats or is so dishonest is written with an amount of sympathy or has been written in such a way, with emotional investment on the reader’s part, that you feel you must sympathise or take their side when they do something like Rose did. It justifies the act in the story (and I have a major problem with it in all forms of media as a plot idea, it is used to excess in so many rom coms and other romantic movies it makes me want to puke) and that always makes me uneasy.

Once again I appreciate Mead’s writing skill and style, for the reasons mentioned in the above summary, but the whole love triangle angle took it down a few notches for me and I lost a lot of respect for the character Rose. Rose went from being a character I enjoyed in the beginning to a character I don’t ever want to read again. It’s great for me then that this is the last book following Rose’s story and I’m still going to read Bloodlines because I really like a lot of the other characters. She also tied it up neatly enough, allowing of course some room for Bloodlines, but all in all I think Last Sacrifice is a good end to the VA series for those who love it.

Sarah’s Picks: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.

I’ve had this book on my list to read as one of Sarah’s recommendations so it has been sitting on my shelf for a short while. Then I went to one of my book clubs and it ended up being the book for November! I thought that was prefect and finally got to read it. I really do not know what to make of it.

I’ve read novels that have inspired anger and hate in me because they have frustrated me, I’ve also read novels that inspire fondness and happiness because they strike a positive chord with me, but this doesn’t seem to fall into either one of those.  I really don’t know what to make of it or what to make of the characters. I believe my brain may have been in shock after I read it and during and perhaps sometime after.

When I say I don’t know what to make of it, it’s not because I didn’t get the story line. I understood the plot and grasped what the characters are on about, but the characters are all mad. All mad! So, so mad. To add to their madness, sure Emily Bronte may be well written and Wuthering Heights is to a degree, but the dialogue… The dialogue, especially in the first part, was insufferable. Some of those characters had the longest diatribes which were needless I think and ended up just making me want to fall asleep. Granted I still wanted to fall asleep later in the book, but the second part (it comes in two volumes) was far better. There were still long, drawn out speeches, but not nearly as bad in the first. People should read it for the second part if they can make it that far.

Another thing about the second part is I feel perhaps it may have been better because there was the introduction of another character who was much more likeable compared to the rest of them. That’s another problem I found with this book, none of the characters were likeable. It is possible to relate to them at times, but they aren’t likeable at all. The thing is even if a character is not likeable, as long as they incite some sort of feeling it shouldn’t matter, but they didn’t resonate with me feeling wise so they came across as all being a little flat.

Perhaps it was because of their bouts of madness and their abstract behaviour which made them not very dimensional to me because there was so much of it and they were all over the place. What didn’t help was it seemed to manifest again in the second generation (the first volume is one generation and the second is the following generation). Maybe that’s why my brain is in shock after reading it because there really is just too much madness and too much excessive behaviour born from over emotion.

I’m actually glad I picked it up, persevered with it, and finished it though. Classic literature doesn’t always have to be unpleasant or difficult to read, but this one was which presented a challenge. A challenge that I overcame. Now I just have to try to refrain from interrogating fans of it on why they loved it.

  • Demographic: Adult, and those who love the use of old English.
  • Genre: Classic Romance apparently, but it’s really a hate novel. Oh and Classic English Literature
  • Reminds Me Of: The Castle by Kafka, but only because it was hard to digest. Otherwise when it comes to writing style Jane Austen may be closer.
  • Rating Out of Five: 3 – I can’t figure out what to rate it
  • Challenges: Crossroads Book Club, Sarah’s Books