My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a cruel society this Gilead is. In a way, ‘The Handmade’s Tale’ could almost be considered a necessary read for those who want to see what not to do — to see the depths to which humanity should not travel. But it is more than that; it deals with many of the struggles that we face today, especially pertaining to how women are treated, even in so-called free and equal societies. We are only a hop and a skip from a group of conceited and disgruntled congressmen or a self-loving president from introducing laws that encroach upon freedoms we took for granted, and it feels this is made all the more relevant with what is happening around the world today.
Atwood’s writing, at the same time, is more personal, more poetic, while dealing with these difficult issues, and the narration takes an intimate look at one handmaid’s experiences in particular. During my read through the book, there was a point where I felt that the story may end up not living up to the ingenious setting and ideas that were created, but the final 50 pages left a big impact on me. In fact, the final chapter had me reflecting on the story in ways that I had not imagined. And some small pacing issues aside, the book is well written, and every quirk and method of style that Atwood uses is deliberate.
I would recommend people to read this book — that is, if they can handle reading some of the more absurd ideas of American society (and society in general) being realized.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reading Harry Potter for the first time, I have to say that I was quite disappointed. The book starts off with inspiration and energy, but through the midsection of the book, I found it to be somewhat of a bore. The moments in the school, and many of the events that transpire there, are often sparsely described and lacking in depth. I have found that in many instances, the movie was more detailed and illustrative. Rowling barely spends time at all describing the world and the scenery, failing to take advantage of some of the more interesting and imaginative ideas within the story.
Of course, therein lies the problem with someone like me reading the book. Harry Potter was written for children, and I am an adult reading the book without the early fascination and freshness that would compel a new reader to enjoy the story. That being said, I can only critique the book through my own eyes. I was not that enthralled by the idea of going to a fantastical school where the ordinary rules of life are suspended. I have experienced many stories in this vein to the point where reading such a book becomes quite an ordinary experience.
Well, most of this review sounds negative, so why three stars? ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ ends strongly, and the scene with Dumbledore felt like nice closure to the book, and gave the story a sense of purpose and wisdom that I felt was lacking beforehand.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m not much of a poetry reader, but I do enjoy reading an occasional poem. That said, I feel I can say that T.S. Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ is a masterwork. It will most definitely require several readings to uncover the meanings, but this is a type of work that I would want to read multiple times. My favorite moments were when he wrote about time – about the past, present and future – and the moments when influence from the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ was most apparent.
That being said, a reader must approach this work with an intent to study a few obscure terms to get the full benefit, but it is well worth the effort.