Tag: Books: American Literature

Review: East of Eden

Posted 16 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

East of Eden
By: John Steinbeck
Format/Source: Paperback; won from a contest held by Penguin Classics on Twitter

Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love; and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.

Omg, I fianlly read this book! John Steinbeck is one of those classic authors you often hear about but yeah, I just never got around to reading any of his books though I did add them to my wishlist. So I was pretty psyched when I won a copy of this book from Penguin Classics on Twitter but it did sit on my TBR pile for a while. I guess I was feeling a bit intimidated as to what to expect from such a prolific author as Steinbeck. But I finally started reading it to and from work and during break at work towards the end of last year.

Read More

Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 22 August, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Another batch of mini-reviews! 🙂

Some of the Best from Tor.com 2015: A Tor.com Original
Format/Source: eBook courtesy of Tor.com

A collection of some of the best original short fiction published on Tor.com in 2015. Includes stories by Nino Cipri, Seth Dickinson, Jeffrey Ford, Yoon Ha Lee, Maria Dahvana Headley, David Herter, Kameron Hurley, Noah Keller, David D. Levine, Michael Livingston, Usman T. Malik, Haralambi Markov, Daniel José Older, Malka Older, Kim Stanley Robinson, Kelley Robson, Veronica Schanoes, Priya Sharma, Brian Staveley, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and Ray Wood.

I don’t always make any blog reviews about fantasy anthologies such as this as usually my reviews run the same responses, but I felt the need to review this compilation as I thought it was a pretty solid one for the most part. Of course there were a few that I liked more than others, hits and misses so to speak, but the range of stories that Tor.com featured this past year was an interesting one. Lots of familiar names, but also lots of names that I’m not familiar with. Kameron Hurley’s “Elephants and Corpses” was definitely a standout (which left me more excited to get around to reading The Mirror Empire), Usman T. Malik’s “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” was absolutely absorbing and well-rounded a novella, and Seth Dickinson’s “Please Undo This Hurt” was quite thought-provoking. That’s of course from the stories that did standout in my mind after all this time (as I am typing this review some time after having finished reading this cllection) but nonetheless I think this is definitely a collection worth checking out.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Read More

Review: A View from the Bridge

Posted 29 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

A View from the Bridge
By: Arthur Miller
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Arthur Miller explores the intersection between one man’s self-delusion and the brutal trajectory of fate. Eddie Carbone is a Brooklyn longshoreman, a hard-working man whose life has been soothingly predictable. He hasn’t counted on the arrival of two of his wife’s relatives, illegal immigrants from Italy; nor has he recognized his true feelings for his beautiful niece, Catherine. And in due course, what Eddie doesn’t know—about her, about life, about his own heart—will have devastating consequences.

I first encountered Arthur Miller in Grade 12 English class when we read Death of a Salesman. I suppose the impression that stayed with me all these years about this play was how the characters were regular, everyday people with everyday problems that you can immediately relate to. I never thought to visit any of his other works until recently when I read some great buzz surrounding the recent production at the Young Vic starring Mark Strong (who won an Olivier earlier this year for his performance as Eddie Carbone). It looks really intense, I was intrigued to check this play out:

Read More

Review: The Custom of the Country

Posted 22 August, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Custom of the Country
By: Edith Wharton
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Highly acclaimed at its publication in 1913, The Custom of the Country is a cutting commentary on America’s nouveaux riches, their upward-yearning aspirations and their eventual downfalls. Through her heroine, the beautiful and ruthless Undine Spragg, a spoiled heiress who looks to her next materialistic triumph as her latest conquest throws himself at her feet, Edith Wharton presents a startling, satiric vision of social behavior in all its greedy glory. As Undine moves from America’s heartland to Manhattan, and then to Paris, Wharton’s critical eye leaves no social class unscathed.

This book has been on my TBR queue for many years, and it’s the last of Edith Wharton’s New York novels I have yet to read. I’ve been reading her works over the years and have come to love her works, however depressing they can be, because of the characters she draws up and the awesomeness that is her writing. So yeah, after years of sitting on my queue, I pushed to make it a point to read this book this summer, even though I’ve been busy studying for exams (because, you know, I need a break every now and then, right? 😉 )

Read More

Review: Washington Square

Posted 15 October, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Washington Square
By: Henry James
Format/Source: eBook

Catherine Sloper lives in Washington Square with her widowed father, a wealthy physician. She is plain, shy, and lacks social graces and conversation. Dr. Sloper cannot conceal his disappointment that she has nothing of her dead mother’s beauty and wit. So when the handsome but penniless Morris Townsend begins to court Catherine, Dr. Sloper suspects him of being a fortune-hunter. While Catherine’s romantic hopes are encouraged and abetted by her aunt, Lavinia Penniman, her father threatens to disinherit her if she marries Morris. Ultimately, however, it is up to Catherine to find out Morris’s true intentions.

I realised I haven’t read as much from the classics this year as I would have liked. I admit, I decided to read this book because it was on the shorter side; I had read his other titles like Daisy Miller (review) and What Maisie Knew (review) which were short but quick-paced. Warning!: I have a lot of feels about this book…

Read More