Used price: $13.47
Used price: $10.50
Buy one from zShops for: $4.12
Scout Finch recalls three years of her childhood during the Depression in Maycomb, Alabama, beginning the summer before her first grade. She lives with her older brother Jem and their lawyer father, Atticus, a widower. That summer they find a new friend named Dill Harris, whose interest in stirring up drama leads the children to try to entice the town bogeyman, Boo Radley, to come out. Meanwhile, a drama affecting the adults begins as Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, accuses Tom Robinson, an African-American, of rape. Atticus is called on to defend the accused while Scout and Jem struggle to understand issues of prejudice and justice. The two dramas intersect as one person is killed, Jem's arm is broken, and Boo Radley does indeed come out.
The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930¡¯s or so. The plot is about Scout¡¯s father, Atticus Finch (a lawyer), trying to defend Black suspect Tom Robinson for accused of raping a White girl in the Maycomb County of Alabama. The plot incorporates several issues that people were struggling during the time of the story, including racism, injustice, and prejudice. The entire novel circulates around Scout and her family. Many situational conflicts arise, from trying to make Boo Radley come out of seclusion to dealing with family and community difficulties.
Lee did a miraculous job of telling the story through the view of Scout. The characters were depicted hardly by their appearances, but by their personality traits, which showed advanced style in writing. The setting and the time periods had a great impact on the story, as people those days lived quite close to each other and knew their neighbors well. I was amazed how natural and realistic the characters were made. Scout and her older brother, Jeremy (also called Jem), reacted to situations exactly as many of the children now days would act. Almost every character in the story had a crucial role at some point of the story. The character development was beyond imagination. From Dill (Jem and Scout¡¯s best friend) coming to visit the Finch family in the summer, to Jem trying to make it past the Radley¡¯s gate, to Calpurnia (the house cook) scolding the children for not coming home, this piece of literature truly elaborated on pivotal character details. After reading this book, one would think he knows the characters quite well.
Overall, this was a fantastic novel to read and I was truly impressed with the quality of writing and development presented in this story by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird will truly be an American Literature classic for as long as it will be remembered.
Winston Smith, while not the ideal romantic protagonist, is still compelling in his own right with his inspiring (and finally tragic) fight against Big Brother. The struggle that takes place between Winston and the government in 1984 is psychologically thrilling and intense, and it is still difficult for me to put the book down each time I read it. I am particularly drawn to the character of O'Brien, who represents to me the culmination of a path that all seasoned politicians and government officials travel down.
The year 1984 has come and past, but an extreme statist government similar to the one portrayed in the novel still may haunt us in the future.
Two things in this book were especially profound for me. First was Orwell's exposition of the social conflicts between the highs, the middles, and the lows, which Winston Smith read about in Goldstein's book. George Orwell understood totalitarianism well enough to see that equality is not socialism's end, but merely the propagandistic means for replacing the highs. Self-serving tyrants inevitably usurp socialism's ideals and use them to become the highs themselves, indulging themselves in privilege at the expense of the rest of society. After reading Goldstein's book, Winston understood the how, and O'Brien explained to him the why when he declared, chillingly, that power was an end in and of itself.
The second thing which struck me as profound was Orwell's exposition of Newspeak, the official language of Oceania which robbed people of their ability to think by robbing them of their ability to express thoughts in words. Rudimentary examples of doublethink, crimethink, and the thought police can be seen in various political groups within our society today.
This book is brilliant and prophetic, a must read for all those socialist utopians who have forgotten the dark realities of human nature.
But last Winter, in the grips of a bout of quasi-depression-for-teens following a move to the most FLAT province in Canada, I truly thought I was in Hell. An e-mail friend suggested Catch-22 to use up edgy cabin-fever time. Now, let it be known that my attention span for most novels dwindles quickly, especially if the book is slow to pick up. While significantly slower to get 'into' than most of the writing I chase, Catch-22 sucked me in, like Alice down the rabbit hole. It is sharply funny, engaging, and chock full of delightful characters. The main character is a thinker; a young man disheartened by war and his own mortality. His name is Yossarian, and since reading this novel, he has stood out in my mind as being one of the most...sculpted... characters in the history of literature.
Put simply, this book is a satire about World War 2. Coming from a kid sickened by the very idea of war, I can say that this book is worth whatever bills you have to fork over for it. It's not about war, per se, but more about the human condition. In addition, it made me laugh a few times, something that only a few other works of fiction have ever been successful in accomplishing. I finished this book feeling oddly... renewed. If you're looking for something 'new' (or, so old it's new) and engaging, I heartily recommend 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller.
I read this book in High School and have finished it off since then about 4 times. It solidified my love for literature. It taught me that to keep our sometimes feeble hold on sanity we have to find the ludicrous and humor in the dead seriousness of reality. It is pacifist's plea to find some sanity to end the state of things where we legally go out to kill each other, trading blows with the enemy underneath the bombardier's sites and the enemies among us. I wonder if Joseph Heller could find Peace quite as tragically funny.
"The only thing going on was a war, and no one seemed to notice...Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didn't know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasn't funny at all. And if that wasn't funny, there were lots of things that weren't even funnier." It's the humor amid the tragedy that in war people die and when people die, there is little laughter and to hold on to your sanity you must laugh. That's a catch isn't it? I'll close this in the words of Jimmy Buffet and thank you Joseph Heller for teaching us well, "If we didn't laugh we'd all go insane."
Used price: $2.50
Collectible price: $5.29
Buy one from zShops for: $1.75
When Elizabeth Bennet catches Darcy's eye, however, a battle between the mind and the heart begins. These two chracters are faced with the obstacles set up by a strict, Victorian society. Their largest obstacle, however, will be to overcome their own pride and prejudice, and discover their love for one another. Is this a battle that the heart can win?
Modern readers typically call such schemers 'golddiggers,' and according to modern values, perhaps they are, but these readers ought to judge the book's morality against the age in which it was written. Austen (1775 - 1817) lived in an England that prized manners and breeding over all else. It is no surprise, then, that since the reclusive author felt most comfortable only in the company of women, that she would limit her book only to the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and habits of women. In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, men are never permitted to occupy center stage, nor are they shown interacting independently with other men. If a man is present in any scene, so must a woman to control and observe his actions. Men--even the eventually triumphant Darcy--are generally portrayed as vain, sycophantic, sarcastic, and totally aware that they they are prized only for their money.
The world of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, especially if one has seen the fine film version starring Greer Garson, is one that seems to have been built for women to inhabit. All the women wear flouncy, bouncy dresses with huge flowered hats that Scarlet O'Hara might have worn in GONE WITH THE WIND. Even those ladies that complain of poverty never lack the funds to afford those outrageous outfits. Further, Miss Austen stages a ball in just about every third chapter that permits single women to size up eligible men. As these dandefied women and uniformed men speak to each other, the modern reader probably will be surprised at the excessive politeness and deference tossed unerringly about. This strict adherence to a surface morality ought not to fool the reader into assuming that the characters are as inwardly noble as they are outwardly polite. In fact, behind this massive wall of formal phrasing and good manners lies the same fears, jealousies, and general backstabbing that pervade a modern disco. What gives PRIDE AND PREJUDICE its perpetual charm is the biting irony that causes the reader to wonder: 'Did that character say what I think he (or she) just said?' The modern reader can best appreciate Austen's wit if she can read between the lines to sense the tone of the moment. If such a reader can see that this book is a polite if powerful indictment of a way of life that even Austen wished to poke fun of, then perhaps this reader can appreciate the charm of a book that grows with each successive reading.
Used price: $22.47
After the animals' revolt and the formation of Animal Farm, the animals' name for their society, things start to look up. But as with the real Soviet Union, the leadership begins to become corrupt, conditions deteriorate, and freedoms slowly slip away. By the time anyone outside the leadership realizes what is happening, it may be too late.
This interesting and easy to read book provides fascinating political commentary on Orwell's time-period and the failures of communism (specifically the USSR). The reader's ability to see where things are going and the ability to spot the parallels of the characters from the novel in history only enhances the book and George Orwell gets his point across without mentioning the Soviet Union, its leaders, or communism even once. His warnings on the dangers of any form of totalitarianism show through in his writing, and this book almost reads like 1984 (another Orwell classic) in parts.
Those who read this looking for a happy fairy tale where a bunch of talking animals live in an utopia of their making will probably not be satisfied, nor will the story be rewarding if the reader ignores the historical context of the novel. But if you're looking for an interesting novel and don't mind the constant reminder that this was meant as a political commentary, you will probably enjoy this book.
A band of oppressed farm animals oust Jones, their cruel human owner and take over the farm. Led by two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, the animals proceed to run the farm by themselves so they are no longer exploited.
Napoleon is clearly Stalin, while Snowball is based on Leon Trotsky, and the Old Major is Lenin. Squealer may be Molotov or Kaganovich, but I'm not sure. The first attack on the Farm by Jones and his men is based on the Russian Civil War (1918-1921), where disorganized factions of anti-communists attacked the Soviet Union from all sides, and lost. However, things don't always go in parallel, as the Old Major dies before the Revolution. Lenin of course precipitated the Revolution in 1917. And note the date of the liberation of Manor Farm: 12 October. That is close to 24 October, the date of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Other items: Boxer the horse is the epitome of the hard worker whose two sayings are "Napoleon is always right" and "I will work harder." In fact he may be Stakhanov, the worker whose team so efficiently met their quota in one of Stalin's 5-Year Plans, that the word Stakhanovite became synonymous with an A-One Soviet worker. And the inability of most animals to read only the first two letters of the alphabet hint at their being lowly, illiterate subjects blindly obedient to the State.
The Seven Commandments--ironic for a Biblical reference in an atheist system-- plays an important key to the book, as they keep changing during Napoleon's reign. They are: "Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy, 2) Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend, 3) No animal shall wear clothes, 4) No animal shall sleep in a bed, 5) No animal shall drink alcohol, 6) No animal shall kill any other animal, and 7) All animals are equal." However, as Napoleon consolidates his rule, the Commandments become slightly altered. For example, after the animal executions, analogous to Stalin's purges, the sixth Commandment has the words "without cause" appended. And talk about irony in using the name of Napoleon for the Stalin character when in fact Napoleon invaded Russia, the result of which increased distrust of the West by Russians.
Orwell's portrait of the totalitarian state would be finalized in his masterpiece 1984. Animal Farm was a preview for that grand work, but the final thing that comes through in this book is that the Stalinist regime was just as oppressive as the czarist regime, with the ordinary animals on the receiving end-i.e. "but some animals are more equal than others."
Used price: $6.95
Attention was drawn to the dramatic separation of the classes during the time the book was set it. Jane Eyre is an orphan, and therefore frowned upon by all as a dependent and a burden, almost no one expects her to do anything valuable with her life. This remearkable young woman pushed for the right to be sent to school, then ater her graduation stayed on as a teacher, after a mentor and only tie to the school left she advertised herself out as a governess. This was by no uncertain terms a grand achievement for someone born of such a position in the world. Although a governess was not the highest position during her time, she made due with the job and eventually found another window of opportunity. She fell in love with the master of the house and was asked for her hand in marriage. Certain events delay this already unseemly arrangement before true happiness is found.
Many readers and critics alike have compared this story very closely to Cinderella. The plots are similar, however, they are not quite the same. Jane Eyre, born an orphan, falls in love with her version of "Prince Charming," coming to her in the form of an employer. This idea of romance found in hte most unlikely of places with the most unattainable of people is a common thread through many modern works. This kind of fairy tale is appealing to a broad audience and almost any age. However, the level of reading that Jane Eyre is written for would suggest an age group of 12 through adults.
This novel left me both uplifted and very impressed with the style of writing that Chalotte Bronte has. The novel's use of separation in social classes to cause a stir and engage the reader's attention to the romance of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester is brilliant. Most people would say that the book is a basic take off of the age old tale of Cinderella, but in all actuality it is a beautifully mastered knowledge of the romantic ideals of many young women. I would remcommend this book to the age group of 12 through adults, this novel is also geared mainly towards women, although it would be a wonderful read for those men in the world who have a taste for this genre. Over all the book was a success, a literary masterpiece that has forever more left it's mark on our society as a classic.
The heroine of the novel, Jane Eyre, ends up in a strict boarding school after her parents die and her only living relative, and aunt, can no longer stand her 'wickedness'. She endures hardships at school, and the school mistress tries to dampen her passion and opinions.
Jane does not lose her spirit, she merely hides it behind her plain face and grows into a proper lady of her station. She graduates from school and takes on a position as a tutor for a young French girl, the ward of a Mr. Rochester. She is given a room in his large house the likes of which she has never seen in her former spartan existance. She falls in love with the little girl as well as Mr. Rochster.
Rochester is hiding a tragic secret however. One that he kept from Jane and everyone else for many years. The truth is finally exposed and Jane is heartbroken. This, however is not the end of our tale. Their love does not die, and the end of the novel is poignant and romantic. I guarantee it will have you in tears.
Charlotte's writing is beautiful, moving, and descriptive. She is unmatched as a mistress of character development.
What makes this book endurable and able to plow through for the first one-hundred-thirty pages and then keep reading for the next three-hundred-forty-one is the characterization. You love Jane, you hate Mr. Brocklehurst, and I don't know about anybody else, but I loved Mr. Rochester, Helen Burns, and Diana and hated St. John Rivers and Mrs. Reed. All characters stir feelings of either love or hate in you. This truly is the first, and the best, soap opera in the world!
I was told by some that they thought the ending lacked - ha ha! The ending couldn't have been better in my opinion. I, personally, didn't see it coming. When Jane was actually contemplating marrying St. John Rivers, I openly yelled "No! No! You can't marry him! You love Mr. Rochester whether he's married to a lunatic or not! Don't marry the moron! He's forcing you into it!"
This book evoked emotions from me I've never gotten before while reading a book. It evoked emotions I never even got watching a movie. Well, maybe it did, only they were excrutiatingly amplified. It was painful to read of Jane leaving Thornfield, even more painful to watch this self-respecting woman beg for food, and yet uplifting to read of her scorning St. John's idea of love and Mrs. Fairfax's label of "beggar."
All in all, whether you're assigned to read it or not, "Jane Eyre" is overly well worth its 461 pages.