Tag Archive for British Literature

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë I seem to be in the minority here, but I could just not get into this book and I really didn’t like it. I tried to give it a chance, reading about 95 pages in all, but I couldn’t go on any longer.

I think part of the problem was the stodgy language, especially when trying to imagine it coming from a 10-year-old, as Jane is at the beginning of the book. Even given the time period, I can’t imagine a child speaking like that.

Also, I felt like the author kept hitting me over the head repeatedly with the major themes of the book. Jane is too easily overcome by her emotions, ok I get it. Religion, god, religion, ok, got it. A bit of subtlety, please.

The pace was also strange. First, there’s a a good amount of time spent on 10 year old Jane, showing us her childhood. Something seemingly major happens, and then suddenly, without much reaction or showing the impact of it, we’re suddenly jumping ahead eight years? I can only imagine how this keeps up later on.

Book Review: Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Phew! I managed to finish the whole thing! I think this was the first Dickens novel I read in full, at least that I can recall, and it was quite an experience.

It’s a hefty tome, especially in terms of the often weighty language and cast of characters. (I wish I’d taken notes or had a list of who’s who to refer to as I read along. Though sometimes it seemed like there were only 30 people in England at this time, and they all knew each other.) I often had to reread passages to grasp was what going on, or go back to a previous chapter to remember if I’d seen a certain character before, and I’m sure I missed some clever coincidences or small events that played into the bigger story.

Despite all this, I did enjoy reading it, though I feel I’d need to reread the whole book to really see all that was going on, and to appreciate the writing more fully. Maybe someday.

Book Review: The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf I think this was the first I’ve read of Virginia Woolf, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped though. It didn’t feel like a great deal happened for awhile, at least earlier on in the book, and some of the descriptive or philosophical passages got rather wordy and took a bit to wade through. I didn’t really like any of the characters either, so I didn’t really care what happened to them throughout the book. It was just ok.

Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker I’m pretty sure I read this back in high school, but as I started to read it just before Halloween, I realized I had completely forgotten everything about it. It has a good dose of creepy and thrilling elements, though it’s a bit plodding in parts, what with all the journal entries and exclamations of “oh, what brave men!” Some of the characters’ actions were a bit baffling, and they felt like they were written that way to fit in later plot points. (Why on earth would they keep Mina out of things, right after saying how great and smart she was, with her “man’s brain?” And then see what happened as a result!) That said, it’s still a good book, and a classic, at that.

Book Review: The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon I didn’t realize this was by an author I’d tried to read before, but I figured I’d give it a try. The first chapter seemed really good, so I thought I’d keep going. It wasn’t as strong after that, but I thought it was ok, though I credit that to having been sleep-deprived. I got a good night’s sleep, and then I realized that this wasn’t the book for me. I didn’t like the characters, and the writing was so sappy and overly wordy. Just too annoying in so many ways.

Book Review: Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson A woman in a small English village writes a novel about the people living there, and trouble ensues. A decent little read.

Book Review: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan I’d heard the title of this book (and accompanying movie) many times before, but didn’t realize it was a spy thriller (I thought it was horror instead, perhaps due to the Alfred Hitchock movie connection?). It’s definitely a fairly thrilling read for the most part — the descriptions of the Scottish landscape were a bit hard to follow — and is a pretty enjoyable read.

Book Review: She Rises by Kate Worsley

She Rises by Kate Worsley Ugh. Not at all what I thought it would be, and not really in a good way. The writing started off really well, but eventually it started to deteriorate, along with the quality of the whole storyline. I really don’t have any interest in the whole “maid with humble beginnings fawns over snotty, spoiled brat of a mistress” thing. Just a silly historical soap opera, with a plot twist that was pretty easy to predict at less than 100 pages in.

Book Review: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham I’ve only read one other book by W. Somerset Maugham — Cakes and Ale — and I didn’t realize that some of his other works were slightly more contemporary, including The Painted Veil. The story follows a young English couple who get married, despite their not really being a loving couple, and then relocating to part of China, where the husband is going to work for the British government. The wife is the main focus though, and so we see her struggling with her marriage and this new life, and she eventually realizes just how selfish and uncaring she is.

The story was all right, but I had a hard time reading on, because I hated the main character so much. She was really quite a despicable character, very selfish and spoiled, and without any consideration for other people, especially her husband. I’d say it was an all right read, but I don’t really feel any urge to read other works by Maugham.