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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review: "Between the Dark and the Daylight" by Willam Dean Howells - 1907

This was another from Project Gutenberg.  It is no secret that I thoroughly enjoy Howells.  He is the realist of realists, and that suits a realist like me.  His stories may not have much going on, but I love every minute of them.

This is a collection of lightly connected short stories.  Most of them involve the brain and its mysterious functions--particularly memory.  One of the characters in most of the stories is a psychiatrist that gives explanations about what he thinks is happening.

All of the stories were completely enjoyable.  A few of them were simply a group of friends telling stories of their experiences.  Most of the stories involved love.

Highly recommended for realists.

Book Review: "The Grey Woman" by Elizabeth Gaskell - 1861

I read this book on Project Gutenberg.  It is a compilation of short stories.  The first and longest of the stories is "The Grey Woman," and it is also the best of all of them.  Who would have thought Elizabeth Gaskell would write a page-turning adventure, mystery story?  I loved it.  I hope to find other stories such as this among Project Guttenberg's collection.

"Six Weeks at Heppenheim" was good, too.  I didn't even understand the purpose of "Disappearances."

The rest of the stories had fine qualities, but they were too moralistic for my tastes.  A few were downright preachy.  They were worth reading, but  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: "Ruth" by Elizabeth Gaskell = 1853

I believe that this book was a more relevant book, back in the time it was written.  It is about Ruth, a fallen woman, and how she has to live with her reputation.  It is a very, very sad book, and as with all of Gaskell's books, filled with illness and death.

It dragged in the middle and got more exciting as the book went on.  The ending was a horrible, "happy" ending.

I guess I would say that I am glad I read the book, but I really didn't like it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: "The Accursed" by Joyce Carol Oates

This was certainly different from all the other books I have read by this author.  I would even say it was a little weird, but it was also fascinating.  It dragged a bit in the middle and certain chapters were very boring, but then the next chapter would be great.

Taking place in 1906, it involves a family and a neighborhood that was attacked by some strange, occult experiences--and felt they were accursed.  Oates involves historical figures, such as, Woodrow Wilson, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt.  With Sinclair and London, we get a healthy dose of the Socialist movement at the time.  We get to learn a little about presidents and a lot about the Princeton area where the story takes place.

I liked most of the book, and it was a worthwhile read.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: "Sphere" by Michael Crichton

Who can resist an good book by Michael Crichton?  Fast-moving, science-filled adventure stories.

Five people walk into a submarine: An astrophysicist, a zoologist, a mathematician, a biologist and a psychologist--and then the fun begins.  They are to investigate an alien spacecraft found on the bottom of the ocean that has been there at least 300 years.

This was one of the better ones. It is filled with lots of interesting science.  The conversations between the characters--all from different points of view was particularly entertaining.  The story was anything but predictable and a real page turner.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

Yes, I don't only read old books by dead authors.  I like modern books, too.  I have always liked to read murder mysteries since about the age of 12.  This is a particularly good one.

It is written from the point of view of 3 people, and you have to pay attention to the dates on the chapters to keep the sequence of events straight.  None of the people are model citizens and half of the fun is seeing how their minds work.

The main witness is an alcoholic that witnessed something during a blackout and is struggling to remember it.

The suspense kept me going right through this page turner.

A great, entertaining book.