North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Completed: February 10, 2011
Reason for Reading: The Great Reading Swap; Buddy Read
This book perfectly exemplifies why I do not read very many classics. I found myself very uninterested in the characters, the writing, or the direction in which the book takes. I tried, though. I just found myself reading parts of it and rather zoning out. After a while there was a lot of skimming occurring as I tried to figure out what I was missing. I wanted to love it, because Ana wanted me to read it and she enjoyed it... I just didn't. For one thing, I really don't like the way she writes. It didn't draw me in at all. Then, Margaret rather annoyed me. I almost liked her in the very beginning because I had hope, but then the pages went on and she just wound up boring me. Then, there were things that happened that I thought were pointless and unncessary for the overall story. It just seemed that try as I might, this book didn't really work for me at all...
When her father leaves the Church, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. In "North and South", Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.
Anyway, I only posted this very brief post because it is a book for the Reading Swap and because Amanda also didn't like the book and is posting her thoughts on it today, too. She might be better at figuring out what to say than I am.
So, what did I miss? What is it that you love about North and South?
A Fine & Private Place by Peter S. Beagle
Completion Date: February 10, 2011
Reason for Reading: Fun..
Once upon a time I was in a bookstore and I came across a book called The Last Unicorn. I HAD to have it. It sounded so good and I thought for sure I would love it. I didn't... Then, enter blogging and all sorts of people singing the praises of Beagle. These were people that I respected and generally shared interests with. So, I felt guilty and tried to read The Last Unicorn again. I thought maybe I was in a weird mood or maybe I missed something. It didn't work for me the second time either. Then, I started to see Beagle and his books mentioned even more and I decided that I was going to try another one of his books. Maybe that was the problem. It didn't work for me either...
Conversing in a mausoleum with the dead, an eccentric recluse is tugged back into the world by a pair of ghostly lovers bearing an extraordinary gift—the final chance for his own happiness. When challenged by a faithless wife and aided by a talking raven, the lives of the living and the dead may be renewed by courage and passion, but only if not belatedly. Told with an elegiac wisdom, this delightful tale of magic and otherworldly love is a timeless work of fantasy imbued with hope and wonder.
There is just something about the authors writing that I cannot get into it. It doesn't pull me in at all and then I find myself bored with the story. I always want to love the story and always find myself thinking that if the story was written by someone else with a different style, I would love it. The ideas are always great. The book descriptions always sound amazing and the reviews I see always make me want to rush out and read him, but I think I am going to have to admit that Beagle is just not for me. I did give him two tries, though...
So, your turn, what makes you love Beagle so much?