20 November 2012

a handful of tiny book reviews

Despite being halfway to three-quarters through all of these at once [with, it would seem, little motivation to finish any of them] I am in love with all of these books. Below, I have illustrated my micro-opinions for each, perhaps to convince you lot to read them, perhaps to convince myself to finish them [instead of picking up The Hobbit for the fifth time].

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
A tragic, poetic, and insightful look into how differently women were valued little more than a hundred years ago; the influence of Darwinism over love and church values; and the danger of passivity and self-martyrdom. One of the best and saddest novels I have ever read.

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
I don't read many thrillers, but I'm really enjoying this one, so I'm sure it's one of the genre's best. It's exciting, well-written, page-turning. Way better than the film.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Strange, interesting, sexy. Another alarmingly long Tolstoy novel, but worth all 800 pages. Anna is one of my favourite novel heroines ever.

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
If etymology is at all interesting to you, you'll love this book. And hey, even if it isn't, and you speak English, you will still love this book! Bryson makes what sounds like a boring subject [even though it totally isn't] into a highly enjoyable and even humorous read. Every English speaker should read this book; if not to learn more about their mother tongue, than simply to gain appreciation for their ability to use the best language on earth.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Despite all the interwoven nihilism, Palahniuk is stylish, classy and almost poetic in his writing. In fact, nothing about this highly readable novel warrants negative critique. The only question I have is whether it's better than the film or not; and to me, that can hardly be determined due to director David Fincher's brilliant skill at adaptating for the screen. So, basically, if you loved the film, you'll absolutely adore the novel. And vice versa.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
I once thought that I would never have anything to do with Anne Rice. And frankly, I still don't want to. However, I somehow found this novel to be irrisitable, so, it became my one exception [like Stephen King's The Stand]. Surprisingly, I actually kind of like it—vampires, erotica, Anne-Riceiness and all.

Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks
by Mark Buchanan
From Amazon.com: "This 'cogent and engaging' (Nature) work presents the fundamental principles of the emerging field of 'small-worlds' theory—the idea that a hidden pattern is the key to how networks interact and exchange information, whether that network is the information highway or the firing of neurons in the brain." This book is highly readable, due both to its fascinating topic and Buchanan's skill at translating scientific jargon for the layman. It inspires appreciation for mathematics and the world around you; displaying yet another signature in Creation.

Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
Like essentially everything Shakespeare wrote, more can hardly be said about this than "it's the best." All the same, I will boringly parrot that it's beautifully written, historically relevant, classic, and simply won't do to be passed up! One of my new favs [right under Macbeth].

Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
Charming, cute, insightful, feminist, very great. My first [but certainly not last] Bernard Shaw play. The 1964 film version My Fair Lady hit the nail on the head, but you should read the play anyway —it's better.


  1. I want to read all of these, with the possible exceptions of Anne Rice and Fight Club. Thanks for the tiny reviews! Also, do you still want to do our War and Peace contest, perhaps over Christmas?

    1. I hope you do! Especially Tess of the d'Urbervilles. There were many moments during that book in which I thought, "Lizzie really, really needs to read this."

      YES! That would be the best. Only it will have to be sometime after Dec 21st [the last day of school for me].