Book Challenge: Original Challenge Completed Once/Halfway Through!
After months of struggling through Don Quixote, taking some time off to catch up on some other books (aka reread LOTR), and then finally getting back into these ones, I finished my Book Challenge part 2! I have finished the original challenge the first time through, so now I just have to do it all again with different books. So here are my reviews for the last 7 types of books I read!
A BOOK THAT WAS BANNED BEFORE
- Grapes of Wrath (by John Steinbeck)
I was rather intrigued by the format in this one, where there would be one regular chapter about the Joad family and their trip, followed by a chapter that’s… kind of hard to describe, but is a fascinating literary trip through the minds of banks, and the folks who have to leave, and the stores that they stop at, and the Californian land-owners; sometimes it was dialogue with no narration, other times it was a rhythmic, verb-filled description of tractors destroying things. It was kinda cool. Other than that, I think the book was written well and gave quite an interesting perspective into that time in history. It got pretty depressing near the ending, but I guess it got across its message. Other than “this is what happens when greedy people push poor people around, don’t do it”, it really had a strong theme of sticking together and the poor helping each other out.—
A BOOK I DIDN’T FINISH
- Wicked (by Gregory MaGuire)
I heard that the book was definitely different from the musical that was based on this, and that I probably wouldn’t like it. Whoever said that was right! It was weird, and really hard to follow, and super political but in a world that I didn’t understand, and I didn’t get either Galinda or Elphaba as characters very much. Parts of it were interesting, and I will always be grateful for the way it inspired Wicked the musical, but this will not be one I will be rereading. It was just too bizarre and unpleasant.—
A BOOK THAT I OWN BUT NEVER READ
- The Fiction Class (by Susan Breen)
I bought this cheap at a book sale because why would I not enjoy a book about a class learning to write fiction? Which sounds like I’m going to explain to you why I didn’t like it, but I actually did. It was a pleasant story with some good conversations in the actual classroom about writing, the main character was fairly complex but not unrelatable, and the chapters had all these different “writing challenges” and “prompts” at the end which really made me want to try them out. It wasn’t anything super memorable, but I’m not sorry I bought it and it would be an easy reread for a “before bedtime” book.—
A BOOK THAT’S INTIMIDATING
- Don Quixote (by Miguel De Cervantes)
Oh my goodness, the notorious Don Quixote which took me 7 months to finish! This book was fairly easy to understand when it was focusing on the action or on the characters telling stories (Don and Sancho were constantly running into strangers who told them chapter-long stories); it occasionally was hard to decipher what was being talked about when the characters had debates about chivalry and politics. Don is an iconic character who is kind of fascinating and Sancho has some hilarious moments. But it was just so long! The unchanging and unreasonable part of Don Quixote’s character got me very frustrated at times and caused it to drag. Also, the ending felt abrupt and kind of really sad. But I got through it eventually, and I made it, and I can say I’m glad I’ve read it, and I am now very worried about my next intimidating book!—
A BOOK I’VE ALREADY READ
- Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte)
I hadn’t read this since high school and only remembered a few vague things about it. This is not in competition with most of my favorite Victorian books for awesomeness in my opinion; I love Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. (Though I’m always biased by books where I grew up watching the movie first.) This one is still pretty interesting; the plot is definitely a bit weird, and I think the ending bit with St. John is kind of fascinating. There are parts that really work, and I think I understood her character. But I have a hard time liking Mr. Rochester; he’s controlling, pushy and grumpy. I’m not bothered by him enough that I think it was wrong for her to marry him; for whatever reason they make each other happy, and it definitely resolves in a way that he learns to chill a bit. But I think it’ll take some movie watching to decide if this is a story I really enjoy/respect or not.—
A BOOK THAT WAS MADE INTO A MOVIE
- The Fault in Our Stars (by John Green)
I quite enjoyed the movie, and from what I remember of it it was a good interpretation of this book. This story has very real characters with plenty of humorous moments, plus it has a good blend of both cynicism and heart. I think I understood her obsession with the author better in the book, too, so that part made more sense. It didn’t get my emotions the way that it did for most people I know, but it was well-worth the read and one I will definitely look for to buy and reread.—
- Cyrano De Bergerac (by Edmond Rostand)
I’ve heard raves about this character from my older sister who’s recommended this to me for years. I definitely think he’s an awesome character; his magical wordplay, audacity and stupid courage makes him super fun, plus his vulnerability with his one thing he doesn’t have the courage to do helps make him more complex than just “the man with all the nerve”. I think this one would be great to see onstage; plays always feel like they go by so fast when reading them, and I feel like I would get more out of the other people and the politics and the warring plot and all that. But this is definitely an important one I needed to have read, and I definitely liked it!