Book Review 016: Wuthering Heights

Hey guys! I’m back today with another book review! I usually prefer to book a couple of stand-alone books in one post. But since I’m in the middle of reading a series, it’ll be awhile before I have another book to include. So I just decided to write a review for Wuthering Heights now. So let’s get into it.

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For those of you who don’t know anything about this book, Wuthering Heights is considered a classic gothic romance. First published in 1847 by Emily Bronte, it’s a pretty popular novel. I’ve heard it referenced many times but I never knew what it was about. The story follows two families through two generations in the north of England. The story is narrated by their maid Nelly and the main antagonist is Heathcliff. I don’t want to give too many other details because I don’t want to spoil the story.

The beginning of the novel is quite confusing for the reader because the book starts in the present and then goes to the past. A lot of the characters in the past and present have very similar names and there are some juniors and seniors so it’s hard to remember who is who. I started using Sparknotes to help me understand what was going on. I would read a chapter and then read the Sparknotes summary to make sure I caught everything. I was pretty good at understanding everything, but every once in a while I would miss something important and Sparknotes would point it out to me.

This novel is famous for the poetic language, especially the description of the landscapes. If you enjoy that sort of thing, then you’ll love this book. For me, I found that it more often put me to sleep, especially since I mainly read at night when I’m already tired. This isn’t a thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. If anything sometimes it was tough to get through.

This isn’t a happy book. There is a lot of negativity, with everyone hating someone. There were a lot of sicknesses, death and physical abuse. I would recommend googling the trigger warnings before reading this book because it’s a little dark – I mean there’s a reason why it’s a gothic novel.

I generally preferred the second half of the novel compared to the first half because it was with the second generation. I just found the characters to be more tolerable. I also wasn’t very fond of the narrator, Nelly. She was quite biased and that would affect the reader’s perception of characters. I was pretty good at seeing through it, but just something to keep in mind. Also if you’re hoping for a redemption arc, you’re not going to find that in this novel. The bad characters are bad through and through.

I did enjoy the ending. I felt like order was finally restored and it was satisfying. This was a difficult book to get through, so I felt very proud of myself once I finished it.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. I can see the value in this novel. A lot of the things I disliked about it are personal preferences than actual flaws. So if you normally read popular fiction then you probably will dislike this novel. But if you enjoy reading classics then check this one out. I’m a little hesitant to read more classics since I haven’t loved the two I’ve read so far, but I have a whole collection of them that I should read so except more.

As with all my book posts, let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading and if you have any recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 012

Hey guys! I am back with another book review. These are the books that I’ve read since finished the Throne of Glass series in mid-October. I’ve started a book journal recently so I’m hoping that it will be easier for me to write my reviews now. So let’s get into the books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

So if you guys didn’t watch my Vlogtober videos, you might have missed that I recently purchased a bunch of classic novels. I was drawn by the beautiful covers, but I also haven’t read many classics so I decided to purchase 11 lol. I choose Frankenstein as the first one to read since it was October and I wanted something for the spooky season.

I’ve heard of Frankenstein is passing but I didn’t know the actual story. For those who also don’t know, Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist who creates this creature who wreaks havoc on Frankenstein’s life (Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster). So I enjoyed learning the actual story. There are so great lessons to learn from the novel, and I also liked how the story ended. But that’s where my positives end.

I wasn’t very engaged while reading Frankenstein. I often found myself taking phone breaks, something I don’t normally do. I also fell asleep once while reading the novel. I found that they were too many descriptive passage and long monologues that didn’t add anything to the storyline.

When reading a horror, thriller, or mystery, predictable is an important aspect. I don’t mind if I can predict the plot twists, but I prefer it when I don’t. I predicted some things and other things I didn’t. So if you are someone who hates predictability, this book was 50/50.

Frankenstein is supposed to be one of the most famous gothic horrors. Now I don’t know much about the genre, but I expected to be scared. Overall I don’t think this is scary by modern standards, but I understand that at the time it could have been radical. Overall though I didn’t satisfy my wish for something scary during the Halloween season.

I give this book a 3/5. I can see why it’s a classic and why people like it. But I wasn’t engaged or scared, two things that I wanted from this book. Fingers crossed that some of my other classics are better than this one.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

I have a very large physical to be read list, with books that I’ve purchased back in middle school on my shelf. This is one of them. I kept this book because I’ve read quite a few other Mlynowski books, with the Bra and Broomsticks series being one of my tween faves. So I decided to give this book a chance.

The story follows Devi, a high school senior who drops her phone in a fountain and can only talk to her freshman self. Devi gives her younger self advice, such as staying away from her ex-boyfriend and how to get good grades. I loved the concept of this novel. Mlynowski took the simple idea of what would you say to your past self and developed into a story. I liked that whenever Devi tried to change the past it had ramifications for her current self, and they were both positive and negative.

I think there are great themes and lessons in this novel. I think they are great for younger readers to read and learn about. I think if I was 14 I would love this book, but a lot of the lessons I’ve just learned myself growing up.

There was also a lot of second-hand embarrassment that is common in younger YA novels. I’m not a huge fan of it. Sure it’s fine in small doses but too much is just too cringy for me. But maybe that’s just my age showing.

This book is also set in the late 2000s/early 2010s, so it was so fun to reach about fashion and technology back then. I grew up during this time so it was fun to reminisce.

I give this book a 3.5/5. I loved this concept and it’s something I will think about in the future. I would recommend this to younger readers, maybe 12-16. If I was younger I think I would enjoy this book more. But at 23 I just couldn’t handle the second-hand embarrassment.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A nonfiction book for once! I don’t read a ton of nonfiction but I had read amazing things about this book. I also love history so I thought this would be a good read for me. Sapiens is an overview of humankind from our creation to our current times (published in 2014) and also looking at future possibilities.

Now I took a break reading this book when I was about halfway through. I started it back in August, trying to read nonfiction and fiction at the same time. Then I started Throne of Glass and that went out the window. After Gimme a Call I decided to dedicate myself to finishing this book.

First, let’s breakdown the content. I picked up this novel hoping to learn a lot and I honestly knew a lot of what he talked about already. I’ve taken a few anthropology and history courses at university as well as learning many different ideological theories during my studies. Because Harari is covering such a large timespan, he just skims the surface on many different things. I wish he would have dived deeper into certain subjects more. But he does have an in-depth reference list, so I could look at his sources if I want to learn more about a certain subject.

What stands out though is that Harari has a different point of view compared to what I learned in school. So it was interesting because some of what he says is contrary to popular opinion. I also enjoyed his section on happiness because it was one of the few areas I didn’t know anything about it. The only thing is I don’t remember much of what he said. I almost needed to have taken notes to help me absorb some of what he said.

Now let’s breakdown the writing, because I think that’s just as important as the content for nonfiction. I found his writing style to be very straight forward and simple. The times that I didn’t know about something already, it was easy for me to get because it explained it well. I did find it a bit dry though. So the combination of me knowing information and a dry style meant that I wasn’t very excited to read the novel. I set myself daily page goals to get through this book. Nonfiction books can be engaging, but this one just wasn’t it.

So overall I give this book a 3/5. I would say it’s not the most exciting but it is easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in history but doesn’t know much about it. If you have a moderate knowledge of history and anthropology, then you’ll be like me and be bored.

So guys those are the novels I’ve heard recently. Three very average books. Let me know if the comments what you have read recently and if you have any recommendations. I have a pretty long TBR, but I can always bump books up if you want me to read them sooner. ūüôā

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 003

Hey guys! So today’s book review is actually books I read for an English class I took in university! I liked English in high school, but was always scared to take it in university. After talking to a few English majors, I decided to try it out! The class was longer genres, so they were actual novels versus poetry or short stories. In the end I really enjoyed the class, and there are a few books I would recommend from the class!

Photo 2018-12-15, 12 36 49 PM

The first book we read was Klee Wyck by Emily Carr. Carr is more well-known as being a Canadian landscape painter, but she also did write a few novels.¬†Klee Wyck is an extremely interesting novel because it’s a memoir of sorts that won many awards after Carr’s death. The novel was censored, removing any parts that was critical of European missionaries. It wasn’t until 2004 that the original text was published again.¬†Klee Wyck is a series of stories about Carr, British Columbia and the Indigenous people of the region. Carr explores the idea of how she, as a white women, can oppose the horrible treatment of the Indigenous people yet also profit from it at the same time. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to learn more about the relationship between colonization and the Indigenous people of Canada.

The second novel I read was another Canadian classic.¬†Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison was highly criticized at the time of being published because it doesn’t glorify war. It tries to show the reader how war isn’t like the romantic version people had heard back home. I really liked this book, especially the style of writing. The details about the narrator are very minimal, allowing the reader to better put themselves into the narrator’s shoes. The writing is also very simple and easy to read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in World War 2, especially the darker/gritter side of war.

Probably my favourite book from my class was¬†Animal Farm¬†by George Orwell. This book is a classic for a reason.¬†Animal Farm is a satirical novel, using animals to critic Stalin and the Soviet Union. The references are strong enough that anyone who knows some modern history can get them, but they are not so strong that they get in the way of enjoying the story. This is the perfect book for an English class, because it is rich enough to write about but still enjoyable to read. I think this would also be a good book for pleasure reading as well. While the writing is a little dated, it is meant to be read as a children’s book, so the language is quite simple. After reading¬†Animal Farm, I am quite interested in now reading¬†1984.¬†

My least favourite piece was a play called¬†Endgame by Samuel Beckett. This play is apart of the genre theatre of the absurd, which is basically the theatre version of surrealism or dadaism. Basically nothing makes sense. The play is supposed to be a comment on existentialism, but like¬†I didn’t get it. The play was very cyclical, just repeating the same things over and over again without ever really making a point. I don’t even know how to describe or critique this play because it¬†makes no sense. Save yourself the headache and don’t read this.

The next book is¬†July’s People by Nadine Gordimer. Written in the 1980s, this novel was Gordimer’s prediction of what a post-Apartheid South Africa would look like. Unlike the past four novels, where I knew a decent amount about the subject matter, at the time I didn’t know much about South Africa. I have since made some South African friends (shoutout to Contiki for being us together) and now I feel more conflicted about this novel. I do think it some ways it reflects on identity in an interesting way, and it worked nicely with the other novels were studied in our class. I just think there are better novels about this subject out there. Also the writing is outdated and full of South African slang that I had no idea about. Very hard to read, wouldn’t recommend.

The final novel I read was¬†Obasan by Joy Kogawa. The novel is about the interment and persecution of Japanese-Canadians during the second world war. While I didn’t know much about this subject going into this book, I felt like by the end I knew more about the topic. The story is a girl named Naomi, and switches between her experiences as a child and an adult. The story is simply and beautifully written. They are some more lyrical passages, which would be helpful to use if analyzing the novel. Overall I found the story very compelling, and I really enjoyed the novel!

And those were the books that I read for my English class! I just finished the¬†To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series recently, so expect another book review real soon!

xoxo

Lea