Melissa A. (areadingwoman) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 31 - Page:
Alias Grace
Alias Grace
Author: Margaret Atwood
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 249
Review Date: 3/27/2010


This is very different from other Atwood books I've read. It's a historical mystery rather than a future world. There are some interesting points made about a woman's situation if they were working-class in the late 1800s, but while the plot was entertaining, the basis of it was not. At the end, I felt letdown by an Atwood book for the first time.


As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying
Author: William Faulkner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 269
Review Date: 10/30/2009


There is no way around the fact that Faulkner is hard to read. However, this is one of his more enjoyable books. It is humorous even though the subject matter is so disturbing. Personally, Varderman is the most intriguing character. No one cares enough to explain to him the situation surrounding his mother's death, so while his conclusion that his mother is a fish is disturbing, it still remains humorous.


An Assembly Such as This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Bk 1)
An Assembly Such as This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Bk 1)
Author: Pamela Aidan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 76
Review Date: 9/19/2009


I love this series. Aidan is faithful to Austen's voice, but her male characters are more involved than Austen's female characters are. It's nice to see what happens to the proud Darcy when he decides to not love Elizabeth. However, there are so many additional characters added at the end of book one, that unless you read book two directly after finishing one you will forget who is who. I waited a year before getting book two and had to re-read book one just to know what was going on.


The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1)
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bk 1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 102
Review Date: 9/24/2009


I read this as an adult who loved Harry (and teen fiction in general). I was surprised at how popular they are among adults but how low-level they are written. I think they'd be good for kids, but we teen-fiction-loving adults are out of luck.


The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, Bk 1)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, Bk 1)
Author: Laurie R. King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 234
Review Date: 2/4/2010


Though an interesting idea, I found this story tedious. When I read a mystery, I prefer to read a long, in-depth story, but this novel has three smaller mysteries in it before getting to the main plot in the last 300 pages and even then there is a huge digression from the plot while Mary and Holmes try to hide. Perhaps the later books are better, but I'm not sure I'll be giving them a try. Even the end is rushed. Mary is traumatized and it only takes 5 pages for her to fully recover from an emotional problem that leaves most people scarred for years.


Beowulf : A Verse Translation
Beowulf : A Verse Translation
Author: Frederick Rebsamen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 10/30/2009


You have to be a true lover of the classics to really enjoy this one since the language is hard to understand. However, once you get past the language, the tale itself is enjoyable. I find the relationship between the males and feels the most interesting part of the story.


Billy Budd  (Audio Classics Library)
Billy Budd (Audio Classics Library)
Author: Herman Melville
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 1/16/2010


Perhaps I'm biased because I wrote my master's thesis on Melville, but I think what he shows about human nature through his novel, particularly Billy Budd, Benito Cereno and Moby-Dic, is stunning. He truly shows what the human is capable of. In this case, Melville not only shows how depraved certain people naturally are, but how the cowardly actgions of those in power are so devastating both to themselves and their subordinates.


Candy Cane Murder: Candy Cane Murder / The Dangers of Candy Canes / Candy Canes of Christmas Past
Review Date: 9/22/2009


I really enjoyed the first and last stories in this book, but the middle story centered on a silly, under-developed character. My favorite cookie recipe does come from this book though and I love Hannah Swensen.


Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Author: Gregory Maguire
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 1431
Review Date: 1/8/2010


This is by far my favorite of Maguire's books so far. The others are bit too fanciful for me. Though good, they are sooooo unbelievable that I can't really get into them. This one almost reads like a historical novel. It could have happened and that makes the characters so much more believable and the story more enthralling because you want to know what happens to them becasuse they seem real.


Dracula
Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 141
Review Date: 10/30/2009


Fantastic. I listen to this story every year in my car in month of October while I drive to work. The first time I read it was several years ago in October. I began with trepidation thinking a story so old could not possibly be frightening today, but I was afraid every night. Having become accustomed to the story (in fact, I have it memorized now), I find the male/female interactions interesting. Mostly I find Mina's own sense of her lack of self-worth somehow offensive and the way Van Heilsing refers to her constantly as "little" and "girl" is most disturbing.


Emma (dramatization)
Emma (dramatization)
Author: Jane Austen
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/7/2010


If you're an Austen fan, this is pretty true to the novel even though it is a dramatization. However, unless you are very familiar with the book, you will have a hard time knowing when the scene changes because it is not very clear in the CD.


Go Tell It on the Mountain
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Author: James Baldwin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 64
Review Date: 1/8/2010
Helpful Score: 4


As a teacher, I read this book for one of our reading lists to make an objective test, the novel itself would never be taught. I had anticipated that it would be a boring book that simply retold the story of Invisible Mas or The Interesting Narrative of Oloudah Equiano, stories about the suffering of African Americans. Though I find that topic interesting, I think that no author has done done it justice like James Baldwin has done. As an English major, when reading African American narratives, I awlays get the main point but feel as though I've read the same novel again and again. This particular book has given me a new perspective. It makes me wonder if there is something different in a "black" spirit than in a "white" spirit. I have always considered black people the same as white people, but Bladwin's story makes me wonder if there isn't something different. The children of the characters in the novel are strong willed, more so than in any novel about whites I have read. Their spirit seems unconquerable, which would make sense given that they survived slavery. Each character in this is strong and derives their strength from their color, perhaps in spite of it. As someone who views and treats black people as equals, this is the first novel that made me consider that there is, in fact, something different between the races because of race. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something inside us from waking up and looking in the mirror everyday and having to live as a different color.


The Historian
The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 311
Review Date: 9/26/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This really was an amazing book. I'm not intimidated by book length, but I bought this book and put off reading it due to the length thinking that there were sooooo many other books I wanted to read. 800+ pages isn't a ton, but it often takes more than the few days I dedicate to each book. Somehow, I always feel that books that take a week or so read aren't worth it because it takes away time from my reading other books (you know, so many books, so little time!). However, I did start it one Saturday thinking that I was interested in the story. It was amazing! I couldn't put it down and it did only take a few days because I was so interested. The story moves at such a fast pace, that it feels as though you'll miss something exciting if you stop reading. It reminded me greatly of The DaVinci Code.


The Holder of the World
The Holder of the World
Author: Bharati Mukherjee
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/13/2010


This book is amazing. It takes a lot of suspension of reality to get through because the first part assumes that time-travel is scientifically possible. However, that doesn't last long and if you can get through it (I'm not a big sci-fi person, so it was hard for me) the actual historical part is amazing. It not only focuses greatly on the role of women in the colonial time period, but it also focuses on the hypocrisy on colonization and the power that women still had despite their disadvantage of sex. Also interesting is the fear that the white colonizers had of their whitge women being lured away by the "black" native and tainting her.


The Manly Movie Guide
The Manly Movie Guide
Author: Harold Schechter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/23/2010


Even though I am a girl, I love manly movies, so I was really looking forward to this seemingly comprehensive guide. I knew that it wouldn't have newer movies since it was published in the 90s, but I was disappointed in all the old, old movies it has. Nearly all of the movies are from the 70s or earlier. I was hoping for a good deal of 90s movies.


Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues
Author: Linda Berdoll
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 268
Review Date: 9/19/2009
Helpful Score: 1


TRASH! If someone is going to write an extension of Austen, the least they could do was not make it a high-class smutty romance! I read the first few chapters and was so disgusted that I returned it to the library and was stunningly grateful I hadn't wasted money on it. Sure, I should have been forewarned by the trashy looking cover, but I had hoped that a book of mild popularity regarding an Austen novel would read better than the average Harlequin. Pride and Prejudice has not continued, but instead got into a fiery car crash where all the good parts (like actual romance and manners - the whole point Austen) got burned up.


Multiple Choice
Multiple Choice
Author: Claire Cook
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 66
Review Date: 9/19/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I found the mother weak and the teen too angsty for my taste. Maybe this is because I spend all day with teens as a high school senior English teacher, but the development of both main characters was trite and stereotypical. Instead of focusing on the nuances that make people unique, both characters seems cut out of a mold.


North By Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberly (Mr and Mrs Darcy, Bk 3)
North By Northanger, or The Shades of Pemberly (Mr and Mrs Darcy, Bk 3)
Author: Carrie Bebris
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 9/19/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I love how Bebris brought the legal system of the day into this one. I'm so glad that someone is writing in Austen's voice without ruining the social mores that Austen held so high.


Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation
Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation
Author: Jason Mattera
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.1/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 4/12/2012


So why on earth is this drivel in classics?


On What Grounds (Coffeehouse, Bk 1)
On What Grounds (Coffeehouse, Bk 1)
Author: Cleo Coyle
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 536
Review Date: 8/6/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I had a hard time getting into this book. I do not sympathize or relate to the main character at all and in the end the poor victim that I felt bad for 200 pages turns out to really have deserved what she got!


1 to 20 of 31 - Page: