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About MrCat

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  1. What's Up in July 2017?

    I am not quite sure if I hate July more than August. This heat is killing me and since my laptop makes it even hotter inside, I really struggle working.
  2. Middlemarch by George Elliot What happens when you combine Jane Austen with Virginia Woolf? You get a book like Middlemarch. No wonder Virginia Woolf liked the book, I can see why. Let me put it this way: from all the literature I've read so far, nobody describes life and society better than George Elliot. Literature especially from the 19th century is filled with books that have lots of characters with personal arcs and connection, from Jane Austen, to Tolstoy, Victor Hugo or Gustave Flaubert but none of them capture their lives like George Elliot. Everything in this books happens so naturally and there is so much attention given to detail that nothing is out of place. The book goes beyond its characters and explores other themes like politics, social class, feminism and marriage, all tied up in excellent writing. I wish modern authors would write so passionately about things they care in our times but now you can't kick a pebble without someone feeling offended. Elliot wrote about what she was against about, from social conventions to marriage and happy endings. I'd say that she makes her points even better than Jane Austen because she tackles many subjects in a more profound way. There are certain things that I often see mentioned when people complain about the book and the most common complaint is it's length. Indeed it does take a while for it to get going and those connections and tied ends that I mentioned earlier do take some time to get to but in the end it is all worth it. The complexities of human life described by Elliot, probably made even Virginia Woolf jealous. There are also tons of references in the book and while I enjoyed taking an occasional break to check out something I did now know, many readers might get annoyed by this. Elliot talk about Milton and Shakespeare like they are some acquaintances and treats their work like they are common knowledge. I understand now why in so many places it is mentioned as being THE Victorian novel. I strongly recommend this books to everyone even if they are not particular interested in 19th century literature. Also, as with most Victorian novels depicting society, it is good to have a little background on the period.
  3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac Continuing my journey through American literature (and modern literature by my standards) I stumbled up Kerouac's book. Before reading it I did a little research into The Beats generation to have at least a general picture of them and their ideas. I have not read any other work from members of that generation so my judgments are made based on this book alone. These were pre-hippies if I can say so but I personally liked the actual hippies more. When reading a book related to not only a person, but to an idea or a generation, I feel that it is important to zoom out and look outside the book as well. Elements related to the Beat culture were among other things, sexual liberation, rejection of materialism, drugs and the human condition. These are shown in Kerouac's book too but they way they are shown leaves much to be desired. The action takes places in America in the 50s and we see it through the eyes and Sal Paradise, a professional bum. Together with other bums, including the number one bum, Dean Moriarty, they travel across the country for no reason and we are given insight into their lives filled with drugs, alcohol, jazz and women. Fascinating, right? Well, not really. Above all these flies Kerouac's impression on white male superiority, homophobia and sexism, all wrapped up in bad writing. I'm not all crazy for political correctness everywhere or modern feminism but even for someone living in the 50s, there has to be a limit. Every woman in this book is there just to fill up blanks. They never have proper attributes or contributions, they just roll along with the men. And instead of complaining about racism, I will just leave you with a quote: "There was an old Negro couple in the field with us. They picked cotton with the same God-blessed patience their grandfathers had practiced in ante-bellum Alabama." Yes, that is an actual line from the book. I kept reading this book on an on hoping to find some saving grace, some merit to it but it was all in vain. Everything was bad, from the action, to the ideas, to the characters and writing. However my biggest disappointment goes beyond the book. This is supposed to be representative of the Beats generation and it just shows how little contribution (if any) there was from them. Miles Davis didn't want to be associated with them anymore either at some point. There;s no comparison with the Beats and some actual important movements, like The Lost Generation. 0/5.
  4. Coming back to my old thread after several months. Life tends to get in the way on things but I have been back on track with my health so reading is back to normal. I read just a few books these past months but some were excellent so all was not lost. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote After my previous experience with Mr. Capote's work, I was rather reluctant to get back into his writing but since I already had the book on my shelf I decided to give him another try and I am glad I did. I usually do not read crime books (unless we are counting Agatha Christie) because I am not really a fan of the genre but after reading Capote's book, I might have a change of heart. The story is written in a very novelist style and Capote's writing really shines here. It probably inspired future genre writers and it certainly captured readers through the decades. At times it feels like a biography and the distant voice that narrates the story sometimes gets to be either very detached or very personal to the characters. The pacing is great even though I'd make a case against the beginning where things tend to drag on a bit too much. Of course this servers as introduction to the Clutter family and the author's writing make them feel very real but I sometimes felt that he spent a little too much time time on them. Nevertheless, the story eventually moves on and that's when the things start moving on. The story starts moving faster and faster, keeping the readier in suspense while at the same time revealing its characters. The villains (though Capote doesn't actually call them like this and in fact leaves much to debate over certain aspects like judgement or capital punishment) make for very good characters studies and it;s mostly because of them that I kept reading the book. I've been giving the book some praise but there are still things that didn't tick for me. For once, modern society is very desensitized from crimes because unlike the 60s, we hear about them more often, not only on the news, but in movies and TV shows too. Now of course this does not undermine the events or the story every much in its own way, but things that were shocking and scandalous 50 years ago do not quite have the same impact today. Remember, there was a time when Lady Chatterley's Lover was shocking. I am not well read in modern crime books to make a good comparison (I will eventually read The GIrl on the Train) but I am guessing that modern books have subjects that feel closer to the reader. I often felt that Capote's only reason for taking the side of the murderers is purely for shock value. At the end of the day, I am somewhere in between when rating this book. Yes the writing was good and so were the two murderers but everything else was negligible. The insight offered inside their minds is good but the connection the reader should make with the events and the people's actions and thinking are not there. I'll give it 3/5 since it was better than the other Capote book I read but still not enough to make it memorable.
  5. Bloomsday 2017

    Top o' the mornin' to ya fine ladies and gents. As we all know, this Friday, the 16th of June will be Bloomsday so I was wondering if anyone is up to read (re-read maybe?) Ulysses. I know we have the monthly read a thon and we all have book challenges aaaaaand this IS kind of sudden but maybe there are people interested in this. It doesn't mean we'd have to finish the book in one day of course, just read a bit and discuss with this occasion.
  6. Happy Birthday Thread

    Late happy birthday (13th June) to Mr. W.B.Yeats !!!
  7. Your Book Activity - June 2017

    I have started reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. After around 200 pages or so I'd say that the book is quite good honestly.
  8. Favourite books from childhood?

    I am often told by mom that she used to read to me from the moment I was born up until the age of 5 when I could read for myself. She used to buy me all sorts of Disney based books like The Jungle Book or The Lady and the Tramp as well as comics with Disney characters. There was no craze with super-hero comics back then or YA and I grew up before Harry Potter was a thing. I follow a few booktubers and they all mention having started with YA which makes sense given the age I guess. But the first books I got involved with were the ones written by Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas. So much adventure and imagination was extraordinary for a little kid. and , even after so many years they still bring be joy.
  9. Hello everyone. I'm not really sure where this thread fits but I made it here since I am asking about reading recommendations for one of my annual reading challenges. The website I usually buy books from issues a reading challenge at the start of every year with the purpose of reading one book per month and they always give multiple choices. However this year I am having a hard time following it since it contains a lot of new literature which I am not very familiar with. I first ran into a problem when I saw that I have to read a book by an author of colour. Now, I've just read Beloved by Toni Morrison and I have no idea who any of the people they recommend are: Helen Oyeyemi, Shonda Rimes or Nicola Yonn. I guess I could always read something by Oprah or Obama or... I assume Martin Luther King wrote something but what about fiction? What about The Colour Purple by Alice Walker? Second topic: Modern poetry. Besides Yeats, I am clueless to poetry. And I only bought a volume of his works because I was in Dublin. They recommend Ariel by Sylvia Plath, Bukowski's Love is a Dog from Hell or Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Many booktubers did not like Milk and Honey for some reason so I guess Plath or Bukowski it is. I read The Bell Jar but I don;t think you can tell how good of a poet someone is based by a novel. Any recommendations here? I'm fine with both of them really. My third and biggest challenge comes in the form of a novel where the action takes place in two different times or the action jumps from one period to another. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes is recommended here and Cloud Atlas is a no brainer but what about something that is not 500 pages long? Thx for reading this longish post.
  10. What's the weather like?

    It;s so damn hot here and summer just started. There was a heavy rain that lasted maybe 10 minutes but you couldn't tell it rained after one hour passed. I can't focus very well on my work because it;s so damn how, I can;t go outside because it;s so hot and I even have trouble shaving because I'm sweating 24/7 and my face is never dry. Summer sucks.
  11. I guess The Lord of the Rings fits. Or maybe something by Virginia Woolf.
  12. Upgrade to New Version - Any Questions?

    My bad for not reading the 76 posts this thread had when I asked the question.
  13. Read-a-thon - 2017

    Due to some health issues and being busy these past weeks, I did not manage to start reading Middlemarch when I planned (that is, in the middle of March) so I might join this read-a-thon with it. I am definitely in regardless.
  14. Upgrade to New Version - Any Questions?

    Hello. Why was this "upgrade" made? The old forum looked fine. I like the new round avatars though.
  15. Hello, I'm Taylor!

    Hey there Taylor, welcome to BCF! Nice hat you have there.