Book Review | The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë

24874353A collection of some of Emily Brontë’s most emotive and incredible poems. 

This poetry collection was a really incredible thing to read in the morning! The night is darkening round me is actually one of my favourite poems, so to have it in a book on my shelf finally is awesome!

Most of these poems are about death and depression, and I think for a little collection like this I would have liked more variety because she wrote some really beautiful poems about nature and not all of them are dark! I also would have liked all of them named or none of the named, but that’s just my personal preference!

The collection is really emotive. I really connected to Emily through some of the words that she wrote, and I think that it’s incredible what she has left behind. I actually annotated the book at one point, and wrote something along the lines of, “When she wrote these, did she know that in hundreds of years in the future someone would be reading them?”

All of the Brontë’s are awesome writers, and I love having a collection of Emily’s poems – now it’s time to move onto some of the other sisters! (Oh, and it’s contested that one of the poems in this minute collection might be Charlotte’s, which was a really interesting observation. I like that people obviously selected these poems, as opposed to just chucking them between two black and white covers.)

The Night is Darkening Round Me is #63 in the Little Black Classics collection. 

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: bought at a store. Perhaps Jarrolds?

Advertisements

Book Review | The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

24874335Marx and Engels summon the working class to join the Communist party in one of the most influential writings of its time. 

I can’t actually believe I’m reviewing this, but I picked up this Little Black Classic and review it I wish to!

I actually agree with a lot of what the Manifesto says. I think that people should be equal – I really hate capitalism. (I highly recommend reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, by the way. It’s one of my favourite books of all time.) However, I feel like the way Marx and Engels go about it is really counter productive. As I wrote in my reading notes, “Why is there so much violence everywhere?”

I can see why the ideals of the Manifesto took off, especially in Russia during this time when there was a huge split between the rich, poor, and those in the middle. Marx and Engels seem to write about the people, and it’s easy to see why people believed in them.

However… I have to say, I did think I would get more from this. I expected to feel empowered, but I actually felt a little bit scared that this small, 52-page booklet changed so much of history. It’s humbling and entirely terrifying.

The Communist Manifesto is #20 of the Little Black Classics series. 

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads
Source: bought

Book Review | The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen

This Little Black Classic showcases a collection of short stories that Jane wrote to entertain her family when she was still a teenager. 

These stories are so sweet! They are definitely not up to the scale of Jane’s later works, so if that’s what you’re wanting, this isn’t the place to find it. However, Jane does real good in these short stories and I found myself laughing aloud with some of them.

Some of the reading matter really did shock me, though, from Jane’s era, so I can’t imagine what her family thought of them! The phrase “dead drunk” continually crops up, for instance. Either way, they were pretty mature stories – more of a teenager trying to both entertain and impress her family.  Continue reading

Book Review | Come Close by Sappho

24874364Beautiful, lyrical poems about love, sexuality, Greece and the Gods. Sappho lived c.630-570 BCE on Lesbos in Ancient Greece. 

Little Black Classics celebrate the range of Penguin Classics; 80 books for Penguin’s 80th birthday! Come Close is LBC #74. 

Sappho is truly one of my favourite poets. People scoff at me for enjoying her poetry and even just talking about it, but try reading this collection and then come to talk to me! Lots of people just think of Sappho as “that lesbian Greek poet with no complete poems” (all of these are true!), but she’s also so much more.

Many of Sappho’s poems were lost to history. A lot have been collected from vases and pottery, but I really love how it’s not complete. I feel like the fact that it isn’t complete actually tells us a lot more! We can invent around it, and, thankfully, the parts which have survived are just beautiful. 

Sappho writes about family, relationships, the gods, and even Troy! I never knew that she wrote about Troy, so having a chapter in this book about Troy was a real pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed it. The Trojan War is one of my favourite truth-myths, so having it written about by another poet was really pleasing.

I love Sappho, and I also love the Penguin Little Black Classics. I really, really recommend this book (it’s only 80p!) and hope you enjoy some new Ancient Greek poetry.

You can check out my collection of Little Black Classics here!

Book Review | Fates & Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini

fates-traitorsIn 1865, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln shocked America. It was an act committed by John Wilkes Booth, the son of an actor and a Covent Garden flower girl. In FATES AND TRAITORS Jennifer Chiaverini looks into the life of Booth through four woman: his mother, Mary Ann, his sister Asia, his lover Lucy and a co-conspirator, Mary Surratt. 

Well.

Let me say that I gave this book 4/5 overall. I actually really liked reading it. I didn’t know much about Booth before (actually, I didn’t even know his name. Sorry, American people, American history isn’t really taught over here. I obviously knew who Abraham Lincoln was, and about the Civil War, and the assassination, but not much else. It’s just not something we learn. Anyway), so this was a really interesting read.  Continue reading

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

The parties at Gatsby’s Long Island mansion were legendarily glamorous affairs.

Yet amid the throng of guests, starlets and champagne waiters, their host would appear oddly aloof. For there was only one person Jay Gatsby sought to impress. She was Daisy Buchanan: married, elegant, seducing men with a silken charisma and ‘a voice…full of money’.

As Gatsby pursues shady deals and his doomed obsession with Daisy, F. Scott Fitzgerald distils the essence of the Jazz Age, and probes to the empty heart of the American Dream. – Blurb from Penguin Popular Classics book

In 2013, I believe, The Great Gatsby was gifted to me by a pen-pal in Scotland at Christmas. I don’t know why I didn’t pick up the book before now – maybe the idea of reading it didn’t interest me, or I had other things to read – and the book was pushed to the back of the pile. Then, I had a question from her asking about my characters and who they would be in Gatsby. That was when I decided it had to be read.

I was pleasantly surprised, and regret not picking it up earlier. Although it didn’t entice me to begin with – moreover, I had trouble deciphering exactly what the book was talking about due to language I was not used to (but has apparently furrowed its way into my mind) – it grew on me, and I spent one morning finishing it off after not turning a page for about a week. It was in this morning of the 26th June 2014 that I fell in love with the book.

The characters are all unique to themselves – Daisy with her snootiness and naivetés; Nick with his straight-forward thinking and probably the most stable of the lot; and finally Gatsby, with his ‘doomed obsession’ and varying moods. The have different voices and even catchphrases, old sport. They are also painted in such a way you can see them as you read, and they become real. Obviously, this is something you want in a good piece of writing, and it is presented perfectly.

As for the plot, well, it isn’t the most interesting. It is the way Fitzgerald has told it that makes it interesting. Events that occur all the way through – side plots, if you will – add to the main one, and make it so the actual plot doesn’t bore you. Sure, this is used in all books, but I particularly noted it in Gatsby. Vivid descriptions that bring the scenes to life. Fitzgerald’s way of narrating is, although it was written 88 years ago, rather relatable also.

I think it was Fitzgerald’s entertaining voice that kept me reading; that, and the descriptions, which were brilliant. I think this is one of the few books I would be willing to read again, and may even do so.

Overall, I seriously recommend Gatsby. Some people may not like it because they had to study it in school (that really does destroy so many good books!) but I think that if you want to have a look into the past, it’s a brilliant way to do so. Although I can’t yet completely put my finger on why I love this book so, I think it has something to do with the characters – maybe they’ll grow on you, too. I may even try watching the film.