Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mini Classics Club Reviews

Around the end of September/beginning of October I was reading. Lots. But I was having a bit of a dry spell when it came to writing about what I was reading. As a result of that I've got a bit of a backlog and with that backlog comes a bit of memory loss hence the mini reviews.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

After my brief affair with Anna Karenina in the summer I had a sudden urge to delve into the lives of other suicidal, over-sexed and under-appreciated women. Enter, Madame Bovary. The feminist in me had a whale of a time reading this novel. As with AK I loved and hated Emma in equal measure although her selfishness far outweighs any element of selfishness in AK's characters. I whizzed through the book just to find out what happens but I am already planning a re-read just to appreciate the language. Flaubert's vocabulary is amazing (I wonder how it is in French?!). On every other page I came across a new word (thank goodness for the dictionary app on my phone) which made it an enjoyable experience on many levels. 

Madame Bovary has been yet another win for the Classics Club as it has been yet another from my list that I have adored. It is melancholy and generally without any hope (particularly at the end) but there is something about the quiet beauty of the language that really captivated me. 

'Oh yes, I can imagine.'
'I doubt if you can. You're not a woman.'

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

I decided to read this because of banned books week. I have a couple of banned books on my CC list and it was a toss up between this and Lolita but I went for this because, even though it is one of the recent additions to my list, I have wanted to read it for (like) EVER. It was a quick and entertaining read and I often shook my head at the sheer stupidity of anyone who would want to censor it. Seriously, I've never read a book that has a more brilliant and hopeful concept of death (that though we may die, somewhere in time we are still living). 

It is a very darkly funny book but also a sad one. Although the war is slightly disguised by the science fiction it is a revealing and distressing representation of the destruction of Dresden. I really would highly recommend this book both for it's sci-fi humour and the picture of war. I can also see now why so many people have 'so it goes' tattooed on their bodies. 

'Well, here we are, Mr Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.'

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  1. I definitely wasn't enamoured of Madame Bovary (OH MY GOD I WANTED TO SMACK HER SHE WAS SO SELF-ABSORBED) but what I REALLY loved about that book was all the social context... How the pharmacy worked, how money worked, how marriage worked, all these little elements of Life As A Whole described in detail, it was fascinating! I don't think I'd read it again, like, EVER, but I appreciated the little window onto history.

  2. Ohhh, I love these mini-reviews. I'm with you on Madame B. I loved that book. I've put Slaughterhouse off for a very long time thinking I won't like it. Looks like I need to get over myself and TRY!

  3. You've inspired me to reread Madame Bovary. I read it when I was about 19 and did love it, but I think I was a bit too young for it really.

  4. Wow, this is the first non-negative opinion on Vonnegut I've seen for a while among co-bloggers :) I'll get to Slaughterhouse-Five probably next month.

    Oh, Anna K and Emma B. When I read about other people's opinions on these books, they tend to heavily rely on how dislikeable the main characters are, but I cannot bring myself to judge. I'm not perfect, why would I expect characters in books to be? It's interesting to try to understand and see where such reckless behaviour may come from. I love both books.

  5. I'm having the exact same issue on my blog. I love mini-reviews as a way to deal with that.

    I read a little bit of Madame Bovary in an intermediate French class. Huge mistake on the part of the teacher since the language was terrifyingly difficult! Quite beautiful, though. Both MB and Slaughterhouse-Five are on my CC list as well.


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