Book Reviews · Reading

Cider with Rosie Book Review

Book: Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee


#75 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: F

What is the story about?

Cider with Rosie is an autobiography. It is the first part of a trilogy covering Laurie’s life since birth, till he was about a teen.

Verdict:

Before reading this book, it was hard for me to imagine a 200 page story where almost nothing happens at all. There’s a first for everything I guess.

I didn’t realize the book was part of a trilogy until later, which kind of makes sense in a way. The entire book was an introduction to the trilogy.

So if you really like reading a 200 page introduction where things rarely happen, or like to listen to the older generation rambling nostalgically about the good old days, or would like to learn about Laurie Lee’s family, including 5 uncles, the color of his rooms wall or the length of the grass in their fields, then this is the book for you.

The only thing that happened in this book was the attempted rape of a disabled girl by Laurie and his gang. As there was no remorse after that whatsoever, it would’ve been better for him to just stick to the grass length of the hills and the color of mold on his school’s walls.

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Next read:

Waiting for the Mahatma by R.K. Narayan
Book Reviews · Reading

The Trial Book Review

Book: The Trial by Franz Kafka

#76 on the 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: F

What is the book about?

The book is about Joseph K, who was arrested for reasons unknown. The story follows the case, the “trial”, and finally the verdict.

Verdict:

You know when you write a looong text with a lot of details and explanations, send it off and the only reply you get back is: “k”

It is so annoying. . Isn’t it?

Now keep that feeling of annoyance in mind because that’s exactly how I feel reading this messed up “trial” about “k”.

How on earth can I relate to a character who is identified by one letter throughout the book?!

To me, the book had no point and no meaning. There was no real trial, most of the things that happened were hardly connected, and all the discussions were pointless.

I wouldn’t say I hated the book. Hate is too strong of a feeling for a book like this.

I was mainly just annoyed.

Just like recieving K as a text message, I was mostly annoyed with K, didn’t get the point of K, didn’t understand the logic behind K, didn’t care what happened to K, annoyed that my time was wasted by K, relieved to finally reach the end of K.

Off to the next book on the list! Hoping it will be a story I can follow, and maybe even enjoy.

Happy reading!

Book Reviews · Reading

Catch-22 Book Review

Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

#77 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The book follows the story of Yossarian, a WWII American fighter plane pilot, and his many adventures and dilemmas along the way.

Verdict:

Me the first 100 pages or so:

I HATE this book! How will I possibly remember all these characters and their stories! How can anyone read 500 pages of a war satire?!

Me the rest of the book:

What do you know, I kinda like this kid. I kinda get what he’s feeling in this upside down world we’re living in and I must admit.. I am kinda enjoying this read.

I appreciated the moral battleground along with learning combat phrases like “milk run.”

Yossarian was “one good apple that can ruin the rest.” I enjoyed the moral predicament he was placed at the end .. what was the “right” thing to do and how he was tempted to take a “wrong” turn when everyone was telling him it was the correct thing to do. Haven’t we all faced situations like those?

This book wanted to show how messy war really is. Not just by death tolls, but how it distorts reality, how the lines are blurred, how opportunistic and greedy people can really be .. and the hypocrisy of it all.

** Spoiler **

Though a dense book to read, with many characters and many upside down conversations and events, I closed the book with a smile.

I hope Yossarian does reach Sweden and lives it up there with Orr .. living a straight forward, long, and peaceful life.

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Next book:

The trial by Franz Kafka.. looks like its going to be a dense read.

Book Reviews · Reading

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Book Review

Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

# 78 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: D

What is the story about?

Follows Alice’s crazy adventures in her wonder land.

Verdict:

Very disappointed with this book. Had high expectations but it didn’t live up to its rep. I should’ve known .. I don’t usually like anything too whimsical.

You know I’m sure the book has a lot of hidden messages and a lot of morals and lessons.

Just like Lewis Carroll explains when Alice said to the Duchess that she can’t see the moral of her story .. the Duchess replied, “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

So I’m sure Alice’s constant change in size has a moral, and the caterpillar with the hookah has a moral, and the smiling cat has a moral and the queen and her pack of cards have a moral .. even the trial about the tarts, I am sure, has a moral.

But to me, it was too crazy, too whimsical, too scattered, didn’t make much sense, and mostly just annoying.

Without any moral that i can find.

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Next book:

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Another classic that I never read and look forward to reading. Hope I’m not dissapointed again.

Book Reviews · Reading

Wide Sargasso Sea Book Review

Book: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

#79 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: B

What is the story about?

The story follows the life of Antoinette Cosway, beginning with her life in the West Indies to her marriage to her demise. It is supposed to be a prequel to Jane Eyre. Antoinette is Rhys’ attempt to humanize Bronte’s mad ghost, Bertha, from Jane Eyre.

Verdict?

The book was a short and easy read, even though it covers a dense subject like mental health. Now i don’t feel so bad for giving the last book an F because this book, in comparison, flows so nicely and easily.

I do remember that I enjoyed reading Jane Eyre but I forgot a lot of it as read it maybe 15 years ago. I was worried that I wouldn’t ‘get’ this book because it’s meant to be a prequel.

But that was not the case at all. This can be read as a stand alone book and you don’t need any prior knowledge about Rochester, Bertha, or Jane Eyre to enjoy it.

To be honest, I enjoyed reading the book. Maybe because it’s within the classic genre that I am comfortable with or is connected to a classic that I remember I loved.

I do realize it’s not for everyone but I liked it. It was a breath of fresh air after reading such dense and difficult novels. Weird to say this about a book that revolves around mental illness. So i guess Rhys did exactly what she intended to do .. she humanized the insanity of Bertha.

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Next read:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Believe it or not I haven’t actually seen the entire cartoon, so this will. E the 1st time I will be introduced to Alice’s story.

Looking forward to it!

Book Reviews · Reading

Oscar and Lucinda Book Review

Book: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

#80 on the Telegraph’s 100 books everyone should read.

Grade: F

What is the story about?

I would like to say Oscar and Lucinda, but seeing that they only met page 270, not really convinced.

Verdict:

I usually average reading 2 novels a month, this took me around 4 months to finish. It was such a hard novel for me to finish as I didn’t feel any connection to it at all.

It was very confusing too. Each chapter is short, around 2 or 3 pages max; but each chapter has a different narrator or can jump between regions/time. It takes me awhile into a chapter to figure out what is actually going on or who/what I am reading about.

I almost feel bad for giving this book an F .. almost.

It shows that Mr. Carey tried his best, maybe he over tried. Mr. Carey himself says he was anxious while writing the novel. He says he “would take other books off the shelf to check my chapter length was ok.” Mr. Carey I am sorry to say that even though your chapter length was ok, your book length was not. The entire story could’ve been told in 100 pages or so, not 500.

The best way to describe what I feel about this is like watching an anxious cook who wants to get a Michelin star dish but ruins it by trying way too hard and overdoing it.

I can see that you tried, but i’m sorry to say Mr. Carey, you ruined your dish.

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Next book:

Wide Saragosa Sea by Jean Rhys.

Reading · School · Teachers

When did you Fall in Love with Reading?

And how?

There’s a point in everyone’s lives when reading stops being homework forced on you, and starts being fun. When you read for the love of reading, or in my case, to impress someone. And that someone is the reason I love reading today.

My fifth grade teacher Mr. David Neudorf.

He was the new teacher in school. It was the first time I ever had a male teacher and I was worried a bit. But i absolutely adored him!

He gave us journals. We had to write anything we wanted over the weekend. He would read it, write a nice reply and give it back. He always wrote something back, and not just put a check or signed.

It was the first time in my school life this far that I felt heard. I was painfully shy as a kid and did not talk at all in class. It is one of my best school memories ever. I remember looking forward to the end of the week to see what Mr. David wrote back.

And from then on .. he was my favorite teacher. I did everything I can to impress him, apart from actually talking.

He loved reading. He told us how reading is so important in our lives. And of course, I did everything he told us to do so I made my mom take me to the bookstore to get some books.

We also had read alouds in class. I forgot most of the books he read but I remember the class would always beg him to read one more chapter.

Then the other day, I took my daughter to the newly opened bookstore in our area and I saw one of the books. I almost cried. It was The Indian in the Cupboard.

And you know what’s the funniest thing? I don’t think Mr. David even knows how much he influenced my life as I rarely talked in his class. I hope he does.

So teachers out there, even if you don’t feel like you connected to a certain student, like you are not making much of a difference because you didn’t get the response you expected, please be sure and believe that you are making such a difference.. even when you don’t know it.

And if anyone happens to know a David Neudorf, who was an international teacher at IKNS, please tell him I thank him with all my heart. ❤

Now i am trying to instill what he taught me in my own kids.

Thank you Mr. David! You have made a difference in this world, especially in mine.

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How did you fall in love with reading? Did you have a “Mr. David” in your life?