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S. Howard "Wuthering Heights RULES!!" (Liverpool, UK)

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Howards End
Howards End
by E M Forster
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars only connect, 7 July 2007
This review is from: Howards End (Hardcover)
"only connect" the overriding message that flows through this work of genius. a stunning novel, which deserves every bit of praise i can give it.

The Schlegal sisters, Margaret and Helen, two very bohemian liberal english women of german decent, who have an "affinity to literature and art". they pride themselves on their abstract life and love of anything artistic. both are good willed and seek only the wealth of knowledge gained by "only Connect"ing with everything. they live in comfort in london society, until a confused love affair with Paul Wilcocks on Helens part starts a chain of events that shock beyond anything ive ever read.

The Wilcocks, a family of english pride, of propriety and straight thinking, who are simple straightforward and self involved. they lack the Schlegal ability to "connect" and thus are the complete opposite of the Schlegals, save only Mrs Wilcocks, whose affinity to her house Howard's End, connects with Margarets love of beauty and life.

Leonard Bast, a man who is poor, and really wants to better himself, and become a man who connects in the same way the schlegals do. he becomes a protoge of Helens.

and the house, The ever prevelent "Howards End" the house itself. presiding over life, showing perhaps that it is the only enduring thing within the novel is property, or love of a home.

the confluence of all three create an electric drama that criticises the very nature of the english class system. with a winding plot beyond imagination, Forster creates a work so beautiful, so magnetic, so relevent 80 years on that i didnt sleep the first time i picked this up.

Read it, the beauty and dreadful sadness of this piece, combinde with the overbearing society that rages through the ever symbolic london and centrally the house itself "Howard's End" , creates a literary tour-de-force, unparralelled in edwardian literature.

in my opinion the defining work of this period. also, watch the film with emma thompson, almost word for word adaptation, unmissable.

The Magic Toyshop (Virago Modern Classics)
The Magic Toyshop (Virago Modern Classics)
by Angela Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful... i fell in love, with melanie, and with Finn, 18 Jun. 2007
i read this in about 2 days, which is good for me, and it isnt very thick or lengthy. from the beginning, i thought that Carter was a very shrewd author, but i felt she lacked the subtlety. its always said that if you realise an author is making a point at first read then they arent doing their jobs properly. and yes on reading it i fully mastered the intricate plot, and symbolic devices Carter uses, becuase the novel is more symbolism than anything else. however, i am an english undergraduate, so ive had practise.

Melanie is 17, a perfect age, a women, but innocent, and curious. she cant sleep, and in her state of being torn between childhood and adulthood, she puts on her mothers wedding dress, and gazes at her own nakedness, and dances around the garden, reveling in what it is to be a woman, to be free like a child. its melanies perfection. however, the world spins out, as the next day melanies parents are killed in a plane crash. she is sent to live with distant relatives. her uncle, and his mute wife, and two brothers.

she leaves the spacious upper class life she has and is thrown into poverty and work at her uncles toyshop. he creates puppets of startling life, and melanies world becomes merged with puppets and the boarders of her own life and the dictatorship of her obsessed uncle almost consumes her and the entire family. Finn, One of the brothers, an irish man who never washes, and is described as stinking, and really not very pleasently. but Carter breaks through this to create one of the most sexual and romantic and unusual courtships ive ever read.

the irony of the piece is amazing. the irony of dirt, the irony of wealth, the wealth of power, the liberation clothes bring, the desire to love yourself, they all prevail through like a beacon from the depths of the novel.

i found the ending abrupt. i was so happy for them, but i found i cared so much about them that i was really quite upset when it ended, it left so much unanswered.

read and you wont be dissapointed.

Wicked: 1 (Wicked Years 1)
Wicked: 1 (Wicked Years 1)
by Gregory Maguire
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the nature of evil, 18 Oct. 2006
the big contradiction in this book is that Elfaba the Wicked witch of the west isnt actually evil. the novel explores the nature of evil and how many evil things are just a point of view. Maguire holds a mirror up to the perfect land of oz as shown by the movies and the original books. he shows the tyranny and fruadulent nature of the wizard and the farce of Ozian society.

the story starts when Elfaba is born, very david copperfield esk. portrayed as a very different child, Maguires descriptions are eerie, and it is clear from the off set that perhaps Elfaba is evil. her fang like milk teath and the very colour of her skin project evil from the begining. the characters of Frex, Melena and Nanny are introduced and developed well. Especially nanny with her batty personality. then we skip through Elfaba's early childhood to when she is seventeen.

Galinda soon to be known as Glinda is introduced and the pair become room mates at university. Glinda is at the bottom of popular society and strives to become head of the vein farce of Oz, Elfaba streeks on as a rebelious loaner commited to her work with Goat proffesor Dr Dillamond. and here Maguire shows the political crisis that Oz is facing.

the story unfolds from here, details are many, and the plot is excellent. By the time Dorothy kills Elfaba i felt genuine sadness that one as noble and misunderstood as her got such a short straw on life.

well worth a read, refreshing and original tale, so far away from the original land of Oz, but so close at the same time.

The Way of the World (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Way of the World (Dover Thrift Editions)
by William Congreve
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "'tis but the way of the world", 3 Aug. 2006
Considered in literature the finest of all the restoration comedies, and Congreves personal masterpiece. The way of the world sets out a comedy of manners, a complicated plot and several memorable characters. I studied this text for A level english literature, and ive got to say its amazing! Its completely under rated and never staged anywhere (much to my annoyance), not because it isnt well known, but because its complicated.

the plot is too complicated to explain, id be writing pages. but it is amazingly funny, witty and holds a mirror up to the failings of restoration society. it challenges the position of women in society, and criticises marriage, money and the worlds obsession with youth. A complete masterpiece. buy it now, THEN stage it, THEN give it to other people to read, THEN they will stage it, and it will get the credit it deserves, as one of the greatest plays of its generation and one of the highest points in past english literature and drama.

The Blind Assassin
The Blind Assassin
by Margaret Atwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Assassination, Atwood hits her target with so much style she may as well be blind, 22 July 2006
This review is from: The Blind Assassin (Paperback)
This is the third Atwood novel ive read, unlike her other works, i feel the blind assassin stands alone, seperatly. Her flowing poetic style remains as always bang on the mark, and the novel reads effortlessly, the structure is complex, and devides clearly into two seperate (or seemingly seperate) plots; the account of Iris Chase's life, and her sisters novel: The Blind Assassin. The two are linked soley by Laura Chase, Iris's sister. The subject of society and desire, are explored in this novel.

The novel opens with a simple idea, Iris's sister Laura killed herself by driving off a bridge, just after the end of WW2. And in wake of her death, her only novel "The Blind Assassin" is published to huge critical acclaim. Iris remembers this, and the events leading up to the climax of the Blind Assassin. Atwood explores the nature of Canada's high society, and the importence of doing your duty in life through Iris's eyes, and meanwhile greatly challenges this in the interwoven novel in a novel: laura's Novel - The Blind Assassin. The split view on life is seen through Atwoods juxtapositioning of Iris's story and Laura's story.

As events conspire the old saying "art immitates life" is clearly seen, the power of suggestion plays as a vital suspence device, i found myself asking "that association cannot be right". Atwood shows that sometimes in life what we dont say can be screamingly obvious, and more important than what we do say. The absolute plot twist is expected through what is implied but not said within both streams of the novel, this doesnt make it any less shocking. Within the novel it shows how what we dont say can ruin lives, perhaps even more than the things we do say. Atwoods powers of suggestion and manipulation of emotion are flawless, her depth is inspiring, her style compulsive.

I would greatly advise you to read on, and be engulfed in Atwoods exception writing. a first rate novel, with an unlikely plot, well not what i expected. But still a brilliant and enjoyable read. Atwood is serious literature and is destined to become a classic author. So read this book and become immersed in Atwoods world, go on, the secrets of Iris are to tantalising to resist.

A Streetcar Named Desire (Heinemann Plays For 14-16+)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Heinemann Plays For 14-16+)
by Tennessee Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Talking about His Desire! His Brutal Desire! The name of that rattle trap streetcar that bangs throught the quater.", 18 May 2006
This play is amazing, Tennesse Williams best by far! The contrast of Stanley and Blanche show the failings of American society, a fight of past and present, the old fashioned virtues and propriety of Blanche, versus the new modern animalistic nature of Stanley. Played out in bluesy New Orleans in the 1950's, the events lead to a hot bed of brutality and desire. Blanche's secrets are reveiled by an uncompromising Stanley, and Stella and Mitch can only look on. Alienated from society, and unable to adapt Blanche hangs on the edge of Lunacy, her only refuse is Mitch, and Stanley brutally destroys it, He destroys everything Blanche is, He destroys Mitch's chance at happiness, and he Destroys Stella's relationship with her sister. he gets off scott free.

A true classic, classic dialogue and some of the most realistic characters ever seen in modern drama. It shows a thriving post war America, empitomised by Stanley, and shows all the decadence and charm of New Orleans a great read!!! Watch the film with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, its a great adaptation. Or watch it on stage, whatever you do, you will not be dissapointed! if i could give it 10 stars i would!!!!!!!!!!!

by G.P. Taylor
Edition: Paperback

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why all the Bad reviews?, 13 May 2006
This review is from: Wormwood (Paperback)
In defence of Wormwood, i would say it has been slated here on amazon, purely becuase readers were expecting the simplicity associated with childrens literature. Woomwood is complex, both in style, plot and character. True, sometimes confusing if your not paying absolute attention, but is that a bad thing? Most of the brilliant literature in this world doesnt wash over you. Wormwood gives insight into complex Christian issues, fantasy, and is dark, its historical context fits like a glove, and if you have to think about it abit to enjoy it then i say do it! Just becuase the book has complexities that clash with typical teen books doesnt mean its drivil. For a start off how condecending is that for teen readers? Woomwood tries to mirror the classic literature that everyone remembers, it has all the darkness of the classics, and is refreshing in comparison to the modern best sellers on the market - becuase it does challenge a reader - and isnt pulp fiction. All GP Taylors books do this. I should encourage children to read this, it sets the bar for what well respected childrens literature is. It is a completely different type of book to Harry Potter and Phillip Pullman, and shouldnt be compared so generally. They all have different aims, so why compare them?

Characters were developed well, and structurally it was sound, the plot was engaging and it presents children with a challenge, it brushes on some complex theology, and would be highly interesting for a young audience, its full of adventure and mystery. The kind of things i looked for in books when i was younger, and still do. Wormwood is a winner, as are Tersias and Shadowmancer, i would recommend them to you or your kids. Its fresh perspective, and content are completely enthralling.

by Toni Morrison
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic realism, complicated yet simple, 6 May 2006
This review is from: Beloved (Mass Market Paperback)
Beloved is an extremely poetic novel, Morrisons prose flows and adds depth to the context and characters seen in the novel. However, the complexity of the style and the vague transition from past to present was at times confusing, but you must perservier because its a really good read! I found Morrison portrayed each characters emotions in a very susinct, gripping way, i felt so much sympathy for Denver, the daughter of Sethe (the main character). Morrison has the ability to show the raw vulnerability of motherhood, the jealousy and simple demands of children, and the need to be loved. Morrisons blend of supernatural, and realism are seamless, and set against the post slave period in America, Beloved is a complicated novel, its compelling, and mixes raw emotion, sharp characters, and supernation concepts to create an absolute winner. for anyone who likes to read, this novel will satisfy any reader, and like all good books, will leave interpretation to you, the reader. classed as a feminist text, Beloved is far to much to fit into any literary label. an epic of genre, and a cut above anything else you will read. It didnt win the nobel prize for literature for nothing! Morrisons book is amazing, a great read. i would highly recommend!!!

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