Thursday, April 29, 2010
I'm done! TBK has been conquered! Yay!! As far as this last part is concerned - why, Dostoevsky, why? How could you build up the speed of the book with such gusto in part 3 and then let the final part just lay flat? I must say I'm disappointed. I was expecting something that would just make that final part POP, but alas, there was no POP, just a poof. Reminds me of that Eliot poem, The Hollow Men, when he wrote, "not with a bang, but with a whimper". That is exactly how TBK ended.
Alright, so we have Ilyusha on his deathbed (his illness has progressed), Koyla (who all the schoolboys look up to and who Ilyusha had a falling out with) and Alyosha (who meets Koyla and influences him to the point that Koyla is beginning to rethink his atheist and socialist beliefs). From here we move on to Ivan and his descent into madness, followed by Dmitri's trial where Katerina's testimony pretty much seals his fate (she introduces a letter that was written by Dmitri and that basically says he would kill his father). The verdict is guilty ( twenty years of hard labor in Siberia). We end with Katerina visiting Dmitri and both of them telling each other they will promise to love each other forever. And we have Alyosha attending Ilyusha's funeral, where he tells the schoolboys in attendance to always keep Ilyusha in their hearts and to love each other - which all the boys promise to do. "Hurrah for Karamazov" the boys chant! The end.
The end indeed. Truthfully, I could not wait to finish this book and was happy to turn the last page. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about these maddening characters and I thought Doestoevsky's writing was definitely great, but there were just times when I felt he went on and on and on and on. Overall, this was not one of my favorite reads and I'm not sure when I'll be reading more of his work in the future. However, I am really glad that I joined in on Bellezza's read along of this behemoth of a book, because it inspired me to pick up a book by a Russian author that I had been rather intimidated by. Thanks, Bellezza!! And now I'm off to continue reading a frivolous book titled, The Lost Symbol.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
As for this book in particular. Well, it is a wonderful group of short stories focused on the social role of women, specifically within relationships. Cisneros utilizes the stereotypical archetypes of men and women in order to examines the ways in which these social roles affect and influence womens' issues (identity, sexuality, race, class, etc.). Her writing is powerful and mesmerizing and takes you on a journey through these women's lives via their personal struggles to achieve their dreams of freedom and love. The book is divided into three sections: childhood, adolescence, adulthood. Her tone and style is poetic and easily captures the readers' attention. She also integrates the Spanish language into her text in order to demonstrate the fluidity and combination of both cultures within each other. All I can write is that Cisneros is an author that should be read and whose work is an important part of contemporary literature because of its ability to cross borders creatively, linguistically and intellectually. Her feminist passions are evident throughout the book, which for me was not a problem (of course I'm a feminist who studied Chicana feminism) - I think it just demonstrates how Cisneros utilizes her writing as a way to not only describe her culture, but also as a means of presenting important women's issues to a broader audience. All in all, a great piece of fiction.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Alright, well I'm off to continue with TBK. Next week is the last post, so I need to finish it off so that I can gather my thoughts about this great book which questions faith and redemption and the father/son relationship.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Okay, so I really enjoyed the first part of this book, but this second part was not as amusing as I had hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong, its still interesting. We have a kid who bites Alyosha and then we have Ivan declaring his personal ideologies regarding God to his brother Alyosha and then we learn about the elder Zosima and how he found his faith. All in all, some fascinating events, diatribes, etc - however, as far as trying to get through these pages, well that was a bit difficult. I found myself not as immersed in the text during this part, which made me wonder how the upcoming Part 3 would fare - hopefully better. I'm off to try and read a bit more. Fingers crossed that I get more engaged with this text, because I'm seriously considering putting it on pause.
By the by, I know that this wasn't an actual review of Part 2 and more of a whinge about reading Part 2, but I couldn't help it. However, if you want a review to find out about Part 2, then check out this site or this one.
Tita de la Garza is in love with Pedro and he is in love with her. Her mother Elena rejects Pedro's request for Tita's hand in marriage, because she subscribes to the following tradition: the youngest daughter must remain unmarried and stay at home caring for her mother (until the mother passes away). In a bid to remain close to Tita, Pedro reluctantly marries her older sister, Rosaura. Devastated by this marriage, Tita buries herself in her cooking and longs for Pedro (who is still in love with Tita). Elena gets Pedro and Rosaura to move away, which results in the death of their son Robert. Tita blames her mother for her nephew's death and Elena beats Tita in return. Unable to deal with her mother, Tita holes herself up away from her family. She eventually winds up living with Dr. Brown, who takes care of her and loves her. The two make plans to marry. However, her love for Pedro remains alive. In fact, Tita and Pedro do finally get together. They have one wonderful night together - so full of passion that it literally consumes and kills Pedro. Filled with grief and sadness, Tita manipulates a fire into engulfing the entire De La Garza homestead, including herself. At last reunited in death, Tita and Pedro are finally able to spend an eternity together.
Talk about a love story that spans a lifetime. Esquivel has created a book so charming and original that it is truly a must read. Her writing is full of emotion and dripping with meaning. The characters are representative of all types of women and their capabilities. And the magical realism used within the text adds an extra punch to the book that truly brings it to life. Definitely one of my favorite reads.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I made a big mistake. I started to read TBK and was starting to get into it, when I decided to also begin reading The Book Thief. My mistake was not realizing that The Book Thief would steal all of my interest and attention and leave me with barely any patience to get through Part 1 of TBK. Drat! I'm tempted to just finish reading The Book Thief and put off TBK until then. However, I did read Part 1, so here goes.
The tone of the book is actually engaging - its like having a chat with a rather chatty friend (you know the type - the one who does all of the talking for you) who is filling you in on all of the gossip concerning the family down the street. And I must admit I quite liked it, which I wasn't expecting. Truth be told I was rather apprehensive about reading this text because I had heard so much about its brilliance that I was worried I wouldn't be able to get a handle on it. Well, that is most certainly not the case. I actually found myself laughing out loud a bit and enjoying the descriptions of the characters and their follies. And there are several themes already peeking out of the pages: religion (faith/doubt), family (father/son), hysteria and women, etc.. And the use of language is wonderful - the ways in which Dostoevsky provides each character with their own specific speech mannerisms which reflect their personalities so clearly is wonderful. In fact from this first part alone, I can already tell that TBK is going to be a very good read. However, I am still wondering about Liesel the book thief and will be putting TBK aside for a day or two so that I can find out what happens to the poor child. I can't believe how quickly The Book Thief drew me in - love it! Anyhow, I will post about Part 2 of TBK next Thursday.
Cheers! Happy Reading!!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Part 1: April 8, 2010
Part 2: April 15, 2010
Part 3: April 22, 2010
Part 4: April 29, 2010
If anyone is still interested in joining in, then head on over to Dolce Bellezza and sign up. Of course, if you just want to participate in the discussions, then please do. Happy reading!