Friday, July 20, 2012

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling

I read this out loud to my 7 year old. We loved it. I loved it for the second time and she loved it and makes up extra stories about Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I love that generations are growing up knowing how to say the name Hermione. I didn't know how to pronounce it until the author spells it out in the 4th book, I believe. But I love it.

I still have yet to meet a match for the prowess of words and plot that belongs to JK Rowling. Having been the catalyst for many young children to start their love of reading and once the series was complete to yearn for more-anything more-re kindled the love of reading in a generation. Hopefully it will continue to to do this for many generations to come.

If you haven't read these before, you really should. Don't let the magic aspect deter you-it is a classic battle between good and bad, good and evil, the Dark side and those who would oppose it.

The House at Riverton, Kate Morton

Love, intrigue, scandal, generational-all the traits of Kate Morton's great writing. Told by one person's point of view, Grace, it is told in flashbacks as Grace is in her 90s at the beginning.

Some of it was predictable, which made it maddening that Grace didn't put two and two together nearly as fast as I did, but there was also some that was completely unpredictable.

This is a tragic love story, although there are parts that are happy. It really made me think about how things were at the turn of the century, during the first World War and how much has changed in the ideals of society since then. How ancestry is less important now than it used to be-at least to the common masses. TV series such as The Gilmore Girls suggests that in New England, such breeding is still held in great regard and a family name can be everything and thus, when considering who to marry or associate with, you must consider your good name and his/hers. But I don't know much about that first hand, having never been further east than St. Louis, MO. Thoroughly enjoyable. I am growing to love Kate Morton, although I still have to say that Eliza of "The Forgotten Garden" still is my favorite character of hers yet, Grace has a spot in my heart.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

There are many images for Dorian Gray. This one happens to be the one on the cover of the copy I got from the library.

This book was......well.....I'm not sure how I feel about this, to be honest. The beginning sent my mind spinning a bit, the middle was slow, and the ending picked up pace and went places I didn't dream of. Three main characters: Basil Hallward an artist, Dorian Gray a young man of around 17 or so who is a subject for Basil's paintings, and Lord Henry (Harry) who is first Basil's friend who then intrigues Dorian with his wild ideas about life, sin, morality, sensations, civilizations etc. I must say that I detest Lord Henry's ideals. Half the time I'm not sure if even he himself believes what he says, but Dorian takes to them like a fly on honey. I wonder what the author's true feelings are. In the forward, he had said himself that there was no moral or immoral writing, just good writing or bad writing. I happen to disagree, but that is what makes me wonder. Another mention, this time through Lord Henry's character is that art does not cause action, that Dorian who said that a book he read poisoned him, was out of his mind for thinking such. Which I disagree with. Art, literature, etc all creates thoughts. Think about something long enough and it becomes an action. One example is of a somewhat popular rock group that has a cult/gang following with very violent tendencies. Two teens in a former town I lived in carried out the most brutal murder of a common friend because they were 'fulfilling the prophesy' that 'someone had to die' which are common threads of lyrics and themes from this so called music group. Is everyone affected by things in the same way? No. Could a rational human being listen to such things and escape its influence? THIS is the big question I believe is posed in this book.

Can a person's actions be hidden from his countenance? And are our actions truly reflected upon our physical as well as in our soul? And if we could see physically the consequence that every action we make has on our souls, would we lead a different life?