Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review

The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield (Wordsworth Classics)The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield by Katherine Mansfield

Short Story writing in it's most artful form. Mansfield specialized in these and I believe it would be hard to find someone to top her skill. It is quite a gift to be able to introduce a story and it's characters, have them do interesting things and then conclude it all in the span of a few pages.

This huge volume of 73 stories, plus 15 of her unfinished ones makes for a huge variety in both subject matter and the length of the story. If you do not care for one, perhaps the next is more to your liking.

I love to have several books going at once and having these short stories to read now and then was wonderful. Each story seemed to end with an element of either a profound statement or a bit open-ended for the reader to finish in their own mind.

Written in the first part of the 1900's, the stories evoke another time of place and events. Time and events change, but the human heart remains the same.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review

Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ADORE this book! So much to like about it for me and I am only sorry that I did not read it years ago.

Pip is a young man with little means who longs to be a proper gentleman. Through a series of mishaps, he does meet a number of characters who influence him a great deal, one of which is his unknown benefactor. He longs with love for Estella, the adopted daughter of the deranged Miss Havisham, who as a jilted bride raises her to be as cold and stony as possible to all suitors.

I loved Pips interactions with those who become his friends but yet was amazed at his turning a rather cold ear to Joe, his brother-in-law who had always been the best of friends to him.

Without giving away the various plot lines, I will say that although it came to a rather good ending, it was a bit anti-climatic for me. I wished for more to be done and said at the end.

Funny, sad, tender, poignant, instructive. For all of these reasons, I give this 5 stars.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review

The Leavenworth CaseThe Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a fan of Agatha Christie, and knowing that this was one of her favorite mysteries, I chose to read it.

Beginning with the murder of their uncle, the story centers on the two nieces who lived with him and their possible connection as suspects. Only one of them is the heiress to his fortune which makes her the logical choice. Set in New York around the early 1900's, the book is tightly written to reflect the manners and proprieties of the time, giving the reading delightful prose for thought.

Solving the case requires the investigation of why the housemaid, Hannah, was made to flee the night of the murder and where she was found.

I enjoyed the book and did not guess the ending. I am always amazed at the talent required to formulate and draw out a mystery to it's conclusion. This one is quite well done.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review

Charmed Circle (Rosamunde Pilcher's Bookshelf)Charmed Circle by Barbara Whitnell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A recommendation by Rosamunde Pilcher as one of her favorite books set me onto this story set in England of the 1930's and 40's.

Rachel is an only child, living with her grandparents while her parents are in Africa. Next door live the Rossiter's, a spirited family who draw her into their family circle. Through the years her interaction with them weaves this story of emotion and conflict during the war years.

The interest in these characters kept me turning the pages, sometimes seeing what was coming, sometimes not. Rachel does not come through the war unscathed, but does learn so much about life and what is important along the way.

Set both in London and surrounding areas as well as Cornwall, the author moves back and forth through time with ease and makes the story even more interesting.

If you like Pilcher books, you would most likely enjoy this.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review

My Man JeevesMy Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeeves is not only the English valet to die for, but is far and above the wisest and most creative of housemates. And, so funny to boot.

My first foray into the world of P.G. Wodehouse was a good one. Jeeves is always at the ready to give advice, provide just the right touch to a man's ensemble and create ways to get a fellow out of one jam or another. Yes, the scenarios are mostly far-fetched, but so witty and well conceived.

Such a fun read and a nice variation for me as I am usually reading more than one book at a time to suit my mood. I will be reading more of this author for sure.

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