Tag: Books: Commentary

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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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 18 May, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

I may not be hosting or taking part in a re-reading challenge or anything this year, but I am continuing my efforts to re-read a few books I haven’t read in a while or re-read a few books before checking out the latest/last installment in a trilogy or series. There are spoilers for some of the following commentaries, so if you haven’t read the book yet, be sure to click on the link redirecting to my original review (which, if there are major spoilers, will at least be behind a cut) 😉

By: Thomas More
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy

In Utopia Thomas More painted a fantastical picture of a distant island where society is perfected and people live in harmony, yet its title means ‘no place’, and More’s hugely influential work was ultimately an attack on his own corrupt, dangerous times, and on the failings of humanity.

I read this book some five years ago when it was released as part of the third cycle of Penguin Great Ideas books. I had been meaning to re-read it again for so long and was prompted to pick it up again earlier this year with Wolf Hall airing. Reading this time around I able to appreciate more why the piece was structured the way it was (structured in a dialogue format akin to the Greek philosopers (Plato comes to mind)) and where the element of criticising his own times came in. It’s fantastical, but at the same time you can see where his society and his beliefs influenced much of the constructs that this utopian society contained.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Commentary: Richard II

Posted 13 May, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Richard II
By: William Shakespeare
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy
My first review of the play

Banishing his cousin, Bolingbroke, King Richard II prevents a dispute from turning bloody. But Richard is an arrogant and despotic ruler, who listens only to his flatterers. As favour turns against him and Bolingbroke returns to reclaim his land, Richard is grieved to see that the throne given to him by God might be taken from him by men.

You’re reading this right, this is another post about Richard II and yes, you saw a review go up for this play last year (review) as well as my thoughts on The Hollow Crown production (review). I had been thinking a lot about the play since January, namely Bolingbroke’s (or Bullingbrook in the Modern Library edition I have) role in matters that led him to becoming Henry IV. So I decided to revisit the play again (using my shiny Modern Library edition. Sorry, I keep mentioning it…but isn’t the cover pretty? *points* And the extra content so informative 🙂 ).

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