Despite its sometimes archaic language and certain naivety entirely due to the age of its production, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an indispensable read in the young reader and learner reading list.
The heart-breaking story, full of Biblical quotes and interpretations, terrifying scenes of human degradation and thrilling descriptions of pure saintliness and greatness, both on the whites and blacks’ side, will impress readers deeply and make them realise, accept and respect simple realities in life, such as diversity, equality, tolerance and dignity.
This is a book every adolescent and young adult should read. It is a powerful and sensitive narrative, soul-shattering prose that will touch a young soul and change it forever. A young person will meet the misery of poverty and the misery of the soul which social inequality could easily bring upon human beings.
By the terrifying personal stories of some of his downcast and “miserable” characters, Hugo in fact argues that nobility and gentleness are not inbred human qualities, they should be taught and encouraged. Not only that, the author accuses society in assisting the downfall of the human soul, since by society inventions such as class division, inequality and oppression, the individual is humiliated and dragged to the bottoms of everyday existence, vividly described in the novel as the Parisian sewer, where “les miserables” dwell as if in a small community of their own.
Not all is despair and misery, though. We will see the noble rise of Jean Valgean – a former hard labour convict prisoner, who rose from the deepest darkness of ignorance and soul savagery to the high state of community and family leader.
Large and small stories are intertwined to build a magnificent and terrible panorama of life in a pre-revolution society.
© 2011 Mariya Koleva
7 Folds of Winter by Carolyn McCray
I started reading the book with modest expectations. After all, given the mighty supply of Young Adult fantasies, one needs to be at least cautious. It would be only honest to say, that the book exceeded my expectations, and very few things were really easy to predict in it.
As for suspense, drama, romance and heroism, 7 Folds of Winter has it all. There are all types of characters, as well – well-meaning but weak, truly noble, downright evil and, of course, ambiguous ones.
For myself, however, I could spot two weaknesses. One is that destined lovers are not particularly romantic for me. I prefer romance that is hindered, relations that are tense and that need clarification between the two partners-to-be. The other weakness I found is that no single character became my favourite. All the “nice” ones were nice enough, but none of them appealed to me definitively. The book is rather long, so there was “time” to get familiar with the characters. I just missed doing that.
I definitely enjoyed 7 Folds of Winter, and did not regret taking it, in the first place.
Oh, what can I say? It was not as I expected, but when I read this collection, I was too young and unexperienced, so I did not know what to expect. Viewing M.R.James’s stories from my present standpoint, I’d say they are typical late-Victorian stuff. A lot of story, great details, too much musing and explanation – you know. It all means that there is some tediousness, the plots are heavyish, the dramatic flavours tend to get overdone. Some of the stories are really frightening, yet some are simply weird, and even romantically weird.
Overall, I would not recommend the book to an adult reader who is in search of sensation or horror. It will be an OK-reading for adolescents, though. Furthermore, adolescent readers will have a chance to expand their vocabulary and get practice in complicated writing style. That is something young people seem to lack today and it is strikingly reflected not only in their school writing, but also beyond that.
Carry On Tuesday inspired by:
So little done, so much to do.
And never time to do it all through.
And never time to stop and just gaze
in wonder, in fear,
or simply amazed.
So little said, so much to hear.
Maybe too much, too close
and maybe too clear.
Sweet words and sweet moments
wasted in wait
for the time yet to come,
which is always too late.
© 2011 Mariya Koleva
Carry On Tuesday suggested we borrow inspiration from the end of Gone With the Wind by M. Mitchell. I borrowed the words, too:
“After all, tomorrow
is another day.”
And if it fails to dawn
our present sorrow
will be swept away
All in all, in life
that’s what smarties say:
“You know that tomorrow
always finds the way.”
© 2011 Mariya Koleva
Fated by Carolyn McCray
The book is full of suspense. It does not let go till nearly the very end. The plot is tense and closely-knit. The political intrigue is very powerful. That, as well as the main characters’ inner moral struggles, was what attracted me most in the book.
As for paranormal, it came as a bit of surprise to me. The romance, on the other hand, was there all the time. The ending, however, was somewhat of a disappointment to me. The tension resolved very elegantly and conveniently, perhaps, too conveniently. I found out that, for myself, at least, romance between life-long partners is not very appealing and “romantic”. Maybe, I identify romance as an extraordinary, out-of-the-everyday experience, combined with secrecy, suspence, certain discomforts and hardships, and definitely – no security. Partners of the type “for better, for worse” are not very romantic. It is more like having a brother – whatever happens, he will be your brother. So, why read on!
That is an important note I took considering my own writing.
Apart from my disappointment in the romance issue, Ms McCray’s style and writing are brilliant, as usual. She is an extremely interesting author to read.
by Carolyn McCray
I am hardly the romance reader. And I distaste “contemporary” flavour. Believe me. Always had been like that. Just a pure fantasy, action and thriller fan of remote lands and times – that is what I am.
So, how did I end up reading Indian Moon in the first place, you would wonder. I knew from the beginning it was “a contemporary romance”. Honestly speaking, I was curious. That is the second book by the same author that I have read and the first one was amazing. Here you can read my review.
I just sat down reading on a Friday night, and then woke up on a Saturday morning and reading was over. I read Indian Moon in a sweep, couldn’t even stop to take a bite or have a cup of tea.
Ms McCray’s writing is intriguing, her way of expressing the characters’ feelings and the vivid descriptions she gives are amazingly powerful. Great scenery, deep internal conflicts, strong personal drive towards happiness – that is what readers will find in the book. There is always a touch of bitter reality, just to keep your head from floating in the clouds. Yet, not too much. The action is full of suspense and surprising turns, too, despite of the somewhat over-exploited initial setting of characters. And above all, everything about Indian Moon is extremely romantic. The romance is gentle, slightly sad, invigorating and it keeps you waiting and longing until it leaves you pleased, to a certain extent at least. The book keeps you there, reading and not wanting it to end. As all good reads do, as a matter of fact.
I would highly recommend Indian Moon to all who crave some gentle escape from everyday life into the mystic of the Indian forests.
In a beautiful day, here is something to match the mood. Remember the Lake Poets?
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a boy:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company;
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
В Международния ден на жената да си спомним:
“Какво представлява историята на Фантин? Обществото си купува робиня.
От кого? От нищетата.
От глада, от студа, от самотата, от изоставеността, от оскъдицата. Скръбна сделка. Човешка душа за парче хляб. Нищетата предлага, обществото купува.
Казват, че европейската цивилизация не познавала робството. Това е заблуждение. Робството съществува, но то тегне само над жената и носи името проституция.
То тегне над жената, тоест над прелестта, над безпомощността, над красотата, над майчинството. Това е една от най-позорните прояви на мъжа.“
(Клетниците, В. Юго)