Tag: Books: Commentary


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: On Chesil Beach

Posted 20 April, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

On Chesil Beach
By: Ian McEwan
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

All she had needed was the certainty of his love, and his reassurance that there was no hurry when a lifetime lay ahead of them. It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…

I first read this book back in 2010 when I was doing my semester abroad but like the few books that I read during my time there, I never got around to reviewing them here. I remember liking it enough but not quite getting it; I expected more drama a la Atonement (review) and felt it ended quite abruptly. Having read a few of his books recently and with news that this book was being adapted into a movie, I figured it was time to revisit the title.

SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book because I will talk about it to some great length!

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Commentary: Measure for Measure

Posted 1 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Measure for Measure
By: William Shakespeare
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my copy
My first review of the play

Although performed before King James I in 1604, the text of Measure, For Measure was not published until 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. This First Folio text, printed from a transcript by King’s Mens scrivener Ralph Crane of Shakespeare’s own foul papers, preserves Shakespeare’s authorial process, including his changes in plot, character, theme and structure. As such it offers a unique view of the author’s writing and rewriting of his own play. Once dismissed as an ‘assembled’ text or as a ‘darkened’ text, adapted or botched by later revisers, the Folio text instead presents a superbly written play about intensely complex issues, including the uses of morality and sexuality. The original and genuine text of Measure, For Measure offers Shakespeare at his most brilliant and intricate.

So I read this book sometime in the first half of 2015 and thought it interesting if not also problematic and a bit of a head scratcher. Strangely enough though it sort of stuck in my mind long after I read the text so I decided to re-read it in the latter half of 2015 in hopes of gaining some more insight about the play and the characters and the themes of the story (rather OT but poor book review kept getting pushed back later and later, as you can see by the date; oops). Contains spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the play/are not familiar with it!

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Commentary: Mansfield Park…Again

Posted 24 July, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 14 Comments

Mansfield Park
By: Jane Austen
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.

I took to re-reading Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park some time ago; it’s definitely one of her books that I re-read the least. It’s not because I don’t like it–I love it–but I guess it being the lengthiest of her novels factor in there somewhere. Anyway, one of the reasons why I love this novel is that, while it’s not as flashy as Pride and Prejudice (review) or romantic and melancholic as Persuasion (review) but it is probably the most thought-provoking of her books to me. I don’t often recommend Mansfield Park to new Jane Austen readers (see my So You Want to Read… feature for next month), but I do recommend it overall because it’s just so rich a novel. And re-reading it this time around brought out the questions…as well as the feels 😛

Random note before I proceed: I don’t own the Penguin English Library edition of the book, but isn’t the book cover for it so pretty? <333

SPOILERS if you haven’t read the book!

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