Must Read Monday: May 08

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.

 

395040The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

When I read it: Before I had a goodreads, so I’m actually not sure. Probably 2006-09, so it’s been a while.

Genres: classics; literary fiction; fiction: mental health; fiction: feminism

Recommended for: In all honestly, I recommend this to almost everyone. However, I would suggest those with mental illness and/or those triggered by some themes to consider reading reviews and checking lists for trigger warnings first.

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.


This book changed me. I remember reading it and relating to Esther a lot more than I probably should have (most likely because I relate to Sylvia Plath more than I should), and realizing for the first time that I’m really not the only person who feels this way.

It has been quite some time since I read this, and I’m thinking about re-reading it soon (or now, since I’m thinking of plucking it off my shelf right this second). I do remember it being a darker book. It’s beautifully written and I do highly recommend it, but I also think it can bring up a lot of issues for some people.

 

On the subject of reading/re-reading it, if anyone wants to buddy-read it, let me know 🙂 I’m probably actually not going to start it right this moment, but soon(ish).


Have you read The Bell Jar? What did you think of it?

Advertisements

TomeTopple Read A Thon TBR!

I’ve missed the starting date for TomeTopple a couple of times now, but this round, I actually found out in advance, yay!

If you don’t know what Tome Topple is, here’s Sam’s (ThoughtsOnTomes) video explaining it. Basically, it’s a read a thon to tackle books that are 500 pages or more, and it’s going on for two weeks starting this Friday at midnight in your timezone.

I have a lot of books that would work for this, but I decided to limit my selection to only those I’ve put off reading because they intimidate me so much. I doubt I’ll make it through more than one of these (honestly, I probably won’t even actually finish one), but that’s ok! My goal is to get through as much of at least one of them as possible during the read a thon. I’m also not picking any book to start with until the read a thon begins because I am horrible when it comes to sticking to a TBR. So, these are the books I’ve chosen, and I’ll read whichever I’m in the mood for when TomeTopple begins.

DSC_0080

Not pictured is Lord of the Rings. Yes, it’s true, I haven’t read LOTR 😦 I just found out it does count for this (I wasn’t sure because it is, technically, one book, but it’s often considered a trilogy), so I’m also considering reading it.

 


Are you participating in TomeTopple? I’d love to hear about your TBR! Also, if anyone wants to buddy read any of these with me, that would be fantastic 🙂

Must Read Monday

must-read-mondays

5297
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

When I read it: March 2015

Genres: classics; horror; gothic; fantasy(ish)

Recommended for: Ok, honestly, I recommend this to most people. If you’re looking for an entertaining and witty classic (or non-classic) that’s a bit weird and sometimes unsettling, with wonderful writing, read this.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 


What it’s about:

Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged; petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral; while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.

Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”


This was the first thing I read by Oscar Wilde (I’ve still only read one of his plays), and if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t expect much. I knew before I read it that I liked Oscar Wilde. I quote him a lot, and I’m a little obsessed. But I didn’t know what to expect from his writing, and I somehow didn’t really know much about Dorian Gray before I read this. I hadn’t seen any adaptations, so I managed to go into this knowing “painting that might grant immortality or something,” and that was it.

This was so much more, though! The writing sucked me in way faster than classics usually do (even my other favorites), and it was so beautifully written. Like, it was almost painfully enjoyable to read. ~swoons~

I didn’t see the end coming (major points, because I have a horrible habit of seeing the ending of books coming from early on), and I’m pretty sure my book actually fell out of my hands as I sat, mouth agape, probably not breathing, for a solid 30 seconds after I finished reading. When I finally came to my senses and retrieved the book from the floor, it took a lot of restraint to keep from diving immediately back in to see what I would get out of it a second time through.

I still haven’t re-read it, but I think I might later this year because it was so good. It’s one of my all-time favorite books, and I swoon just a little every time I see a pretty copy. I think there might come a time when I end up collecting an entire shelf of nothing but different editions of this book, because I can see myself re-reading it as often as I’ve always re-read Harry Potter. And that’s saying something.

If you want to read classics, but you don’t have much experience with them and aren’t sure where to start, this is a good choice I think. It was written (or at least published) in 1890, so it isn’t super old and difficult to follow. The humor carries through easily to modern readers, in my opinion, and Wilde’s writing is delightful to read.

Ok, I have to stop babbling about this book or I’ll never stop :p


Have you read any of Wilde’s work? What’s your favorite?

First Lines Fridays: February 17th

flf

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”



Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

down-arrow

 

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

16000361

I have this edition, from Word Cloud Classics. The ISBN is 978-1-60710-736-1 if you like it 🙂

What it’s about:

Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence’s last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely
woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband’s estate. The most controversial of Lawrence’s books, Lady Chatterly’s Lover joyously affirms the author’s vision of individual regeneration through sexual love. The book’s power, complexity, and psychological intricacy make this a completely original work–a triumph of passion, an erotic celebration of life.

Goodreads | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


This is what I’m reading right now, after having it on my TBR forever. It was never really high on my list, but when I found the Word Cloud Classics edition, I couldn’t resist buying it. (If you haven’t seen these editions in person, they’re lovely, but the type is a bit small for my liking.) This book made it onto my radar when I was looking into banned and censored books, and it’s my first D.H. Lawrence novel. Back in the day, when it was first published, it made quite a stir for it’s explicit content and was banned and labeled as pornography in the US and England (possibly more places, but I’m too lazy to google it right now). It’s fairly tame by current standards, I guess, but I can already see (40 pages in) why it was such a big deal in the 1920s.

Have you read it? What did you think?