Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 10: The Scarlet Letter

Day 10: A Favorite Classic Book

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter seems to be a good choice if not the perfect one for me - I would've picked a Jane Austen novel, but for want of having a wider selection of books on this list, I concur to the letter 'A'.

This is one of the few classic American novels I've read and I've liked it since. A lot of the psychological depth was lost on me when I first read it as a twelve year old, though I did understand the social impact of such writing. The theme of 'sin' is something everyone can identify with. People and their reactions, not so much. I held Chillingworth with contempt and anger, Hester with pity and a just amount of admiration, Pearl and Dimmesdale with silent liking. One of the main attractions of this novel is the non-conformism of Hester. Who gives society's rules and regulations a thought when you have your own life to live? This is me being the silent feminist.
It remains one of my favorite classics, if not the favorite.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 9: A Tale of Two Cities

Day 9: A book I thought I wouldn't like but ended up loving

Charles Dickens was forced upon me as a child. I believe it was my grandfather's doing. The Adventures of Oliver Twist was a favorite, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield were others that I read on my own. I drew the line at Great Expectations and so was rather wary when I picked up A Tale of Two Cities. I loved it.
It's a bit of a drag, but luckily for me, I was reading about the French Revolution at the same time I began the book.
I liked the characterization - still do - and the history that is in this novel. Charles Darnay and Sidney Carton, though not my favorite fictional characters by any means, still remain embedded in my memory if only for their lives and the ending.
Book the Third: The Track of a Storm is my obvious favorite and I'm not sure I would've liked to have read it in its original form of weekly installments.
While I still look upon this book as one that forced me to, literally, create my own set of SparkNotes, just so I could understand the novel properly, it is definitely a book that I never thought I would love.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Day 8: Dan Brown's Novels

Day 8: The Most Overrated Book


I read my first Dan Brown novel before The DaVinci Code came out and the whole world wanted to jump onto the bandwagon. Digital Fortress, Angels & Demons were the first two I read and Deception Point followed The DaVinci Code. I was duly fascinated by the history and inventive stories, the attention to cryptography (I was a big time computer networks nerd at the time), and the fast pace of the novels, but all of these are, possibly, the same reasons I now think they are highly overrated.

The story gets old, told to you by the same author in different situations but in the same way.
By the time I read Deception Point, I was fully aware of who the bad guy was going to be and what the protagonists would do! Which is also why I read The Lost Symbol almost two years after it came out.

I am well aware that 'thrillers' are generally exactly how Dan Brown writes, and he does provide a good read, but it is my belief that his books are highly overrated. Though I must say that if I were to pick the most overrated book by him, I would pick The DaVinci Code - Angels & Demons would be my favorite book.