Tag: Books: Classics


Review: Catch-22

Posted 2 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Catch-22
By: Joseph Heller
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

I first read this book in 2009 but never got around to reviewing it here on the blog (ahh, them early days). For the past few years I had been meaning to revisit the novel just to see if my impressions had changed since. Well, I finally did get around to re-reading it earlier this year; sort of took a while because I started reading it before I went on vacation and then continued reading it when I got back, haha, but anyhow…

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Review: Animal Farm

Posted 29 June, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Animal Farm
By: George Orwell
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…

Moving along in my re-read, up next is Animal Farm. Like 1984 (review), I first read this book years ago when I was in undergrad and goodness, could this be any more a blatant allegory to the Russian Revolution (right down to the rise of Stalin)?

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Review: 1984

Posted 28 June, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

1984
By: George Orwell
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

So, backstory time: I first read this book in 2008. It was the heyday of me studying Soviet Russian history and I was just reading up everything I could get my hands on related to the regime, and dystopian literature reflecting on the events was one of them. So George Orwell came into my reading list at long last. I liked it the first time but despite it being the time that I started book blogging, I never got around to typing out a review of sorts about the novel. Fast forward to almost ten years later and with current events spiralling about, this book returned to attention, even selling out at some stores. I had been meaning to re-read it for some time now so I decided to pick it up again.

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Review: The Twelve Caesars

Posted 3 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Twelve Caesars
By: Suetonius
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

‘Twenty-three dagger thrusts went home as he stood there. Caesar did not utter a sound…’

This vivid, racy account of the men who wielded absolute power over ancient Rome – including maniacs, tyrants, warriors, sadists and murderers – is the source for nearly everything we know about one of the most dramatic periods in history.

This was one of the new titles that were recently included in the Pocket Penguins line-up and as I had never read this book, and it looked quite shiny amongst the other titles, I decided to pick it up. I had been reading this book to and from work but alas, my book met quite the accident when my water bottle leaked all over my knapsack and drenched most of the book. The stuff of a bookworm’s nightmare O_o The remainder of the book was still readable but it’s all cold and wrinkly and messed up now 🙁

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Review: The Betrothed

Posted 2 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Betrothed
By: Alessandro Manzoni
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

‘I pity this house; the curse of God is hanging over it’.

Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself. Forced to flee, they are then cruelly separated, and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, and confront a variety of strange characters – the mysterious Nun of Monza, the fiery Father Cristoforo and the sinister ‘Unnamed’ – in their struggle to be reunited. With a vigorous portrayal of enduring passion, The Betrothed‘s exploration of love, power and faith presents a whirling panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life and is one of the greatest European historical novels.

Goodness, how long has this book been on my TBR pile? At least a good five or so years…I had the eBook sitting on my Kobo but it took a reprint through the new Pocket Penguins series and a scheduled flight to finally read this book.

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