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Ian's reading 2021


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The Awakening and other stories by Kate Chopin

 

I only heard of this writer recently,  watching a you tube video of lesser known Victoria era writers. Kate Chopin was from the New Orleans area and her writing is now considered to be an early example of feminist writing. 

The main story (The Awakening) was her only novel. Poor reviews at the time discouraged her from writing more and she concentrated on short fiction after that 

 

I enjoyed it. I can see why it shocked the sensibilities of contemporary readers and critics. A woman described as having similar sexual desires to a man. Some of the other short stories didn't always hit the mark for me, but the writing is beautiful and you get a real sense of both the beauty of the New Orleon area and her attachment to it. The story Desiree's baby is particularly good. 

Of course, given the age and locale of these stories there

 Are some outdated racial words throughout. 

 

Over all 4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

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These sound interesting, I might have to add it to my ‘to-read’ list. What a shame she was discouraged from writing! 
 

I’m a bit late to this but you’ve also reminded me, with your review of Troubled Blood, that I wanted to read more of the Cormoran Strike books. I really enjoyed The Silkworm.

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Ulysses by James Joyce

 

I always said to myself that I wouldn't attempt to read this. Everything I had heard about this was that it was, at best "difficult" and at worst "incomprehensible".

 

Well, lockdown does funny things to you, I guess. Anyway, I decided to give it a go...

 

OK, so I managed 15% until I gave up. That was 5 chapters. Some chapters were ok, but honestly? Those streams of consciousness were just exhausting to me! At least I can say I tried. 

 

Rating: DNF

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On 02/03/2021 at 7:52 PM, Hayley said:

These sound interesting, I might have to add it to my ‘to-read’ list. What a shame she was discouraged from writing! 
 

I’m a bit late to this but you’ve also reminded me, with your review of Troubled Blood, that I wanted to read more of the Cormoran Strike books. I really enjoyed The Silkworm.

I would recommend both, but particularly the Strike novel. It really ticked all the boxes for me

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20 hours ago, ian said:

Ulysses by James Joyce

 

I always said to myself that I wouldn't attempt to read this. Everything I had heard about this was that it was, at best "difficult" and at worst "incomprehensible".

 

Well, lockdown does funny things to you, I guess. Anyway, I decided to give it a go...

 

OK, so I managed 15% until I gave up. That was 5 chapters. Some chapters were ok, but honestly? Those streams of consciousness were just exhausting to me! At least I can say I tried. 

 

Rating: DNF


I've been told to start with The Dubliners before moving on to Ulysses. If that's any use to you. 

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2 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:


I've been told to start with The Dubliners before moving on to Ulysses. If that's any use to you. 

Thanks Luna, that's worth knowing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

This is a book I tried to read a long time ago, but only ever got a few chapters into it. I thought it about time to fully read it.

It's difficult to review a book like this. On the one hand, it was written specifically to further the cause of emancipation of black slaves in America,  which is obviously a great thing, but, with the knowledge that the things that befall the slaves in this book are based on real events, and that they are probably only a shadow of some of what went on, means that this is an impossible book to enjoy reading.  Rating 4/5

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

 

I think this is one of Gaskell's earlier books. I felt it didn't have the distinctive voice of the other books of hers I've read. Still, very enjoyable and it has an interesting take on earlier trades union activity. From a modern perspective, Mary Barton herself seems frustratingly passive with her lot. All  in all, an enjoyable read, with a satisfying ending 4/5.

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Greenmantle by John Buchan

 

A few years ago I read The 39 Steps and only then did I find out that there are a number of sequels. This is the first. 

It's set in the middle of world war 1, and written I believe at the start of ww2. So, while this is a good read , probably what would have been called a "ripping yarn" there are quite a number of outdated views expressed. Still, an enjoyable, easy read. 4/5

 

 

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