Posts Tagged ‘Book Review’

I have just finished reading “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

“Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert (via Goodreads)

This is the sequel to “Eat, Pray, Love” and follows Liz and Felipe as they continue their relationship in the way they want: travelling around the world, making a living, and generally being content. Then the US Immigration department bans Brazilian Felipe from entering the US, thus stopping him from settling down with Liz in her home country and also preventing him from making a living by selling his goods in the US. The only solution they are offered is to get married.

Neither of them wants to marry again after each already having a failed marriage behind them. So, while they wander around Asia trying to distract themselves and not make plans for the future, they spend months organising the complicated process of paperwork for their marriage and Felipe’s visa. Liz takes it upon herself to research marriage, hoping that she can find a way to make peace with the idea of it after her divorce.

She asks people in all the countries the couple visit about marriage and learns about how different societies and cultures see and treat it. She reads many books and studies on the subject of marriage through history, and she also asks her friends and family about it as well.

The book is mainly about Liz’s research into marriage, and how her findings question everything she knew about marriage. She does a lot of soul-searching and assesses all the information as she tries to reconcile herself with the fact she is being forced into another marriage just to stay with the man she loves. The reader gets to see how life without a permanent home and how the pressure of the visa application affects the couple. There are some tense moments but ultimately they know each other so well that they get through the difficult times.

This book has less of a story than “Eat, Pray, Love”, but it covers an important topic and introduces many different ideas around marriage. Nevertheless, it’s still an interesting read and worth a go if you liked the previous book! I give it 7/10.

I have just finished reading “The War Of The Worlds” by H.G. Wells.

“The War Of The Worlds” by H.G. Wells (via Goodreads)

“Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.”

I have never read this classic before and thought I would give it a go! I do like science-fiction novels, and this was particularly interesting because it deals with the invasion of aliens, in this case Martians, when they arrive on Earth.

The narrator describes the invasion quite well, from the mysterious cylinders falling to Earth and their contents, to the chaos of the mass exodus of the population of London and the surrounding suburbs when the Martians increase in number and rampage their way through the city.

It’s amazing how slow people are  to realise just how dangerous these aliens are and so many people are killed before people start to realise how unstoppable these creatures are. The scary thing is how easily society disintegrates into chaos as people leave their normal lives and home behind to escape the Martians. Classes, sexes and races mean nothing when they are all threatened by invasion of creatures who seek to reduce the human race to the level of an inferior species, just like humans have turned animals such as cats into an inferior species.

The narrator describes his wanderings through London as he tries to avoid being killed by the Martians, striking up brief alliances with other survivors in order to escape the chaos of the fleeing people and to learn more about the aliens.

It’s not the best book I’ve read about humankind being threatened with extinction, but it’s one of the original stories about this subject which was written before man learned to fly, which makes the Martian invasion seem even more futuristic and more advanced than anything the human race could have dreamed of.

I give it 7/10 because it is an interesting read with good characters and good descriptions, but the end is a little too unsatisfactory for the subject which it covers.

I have just read “Oedipus the King”, a short play by Sophocles.

“Oedipus the King” by Sophocies (via Goodreads)

This Greek tragedy and its doomed protagonist, Oedipus, is well known, but I had never looked into plays about it before, only knowing the basic story from Greek legends. I found this copy in an old textbook I used at university while studying English, and found it of a reasonable length to read it quickly.

Oedipus is an unfortunate character who was supposed to have been left to die as an infant when it was foretold that he would grow up to kill his father and marry his mother. This play is set after he is married and while he is King, during a time of great misery for his kingdom. They believe there is a curse on their homeland as crops are failing, unborn children don’t live and there is a general feeling of unease.

After seeking advice from an oracle at the temple on how to heal his kingdom’s bad luck, Oedipus starts to search for the person who killed the old King and through a series of interactions with various friends and messengers, he soon discovers the terrible truth in this tale: it was himself who killed the King, who was in fact his father, and has married the dead King’s wife, who is actually his mother. At this revelation, he and the Queen are both distraught, and Oedipus blinds himself in order to stop him seeing the horror he has inflicted around him.

It is quite a horrific tale, and you wonder how Oedipus didn’t twig that the Queen looked like him, or that he was in fact adopted. It is quite horrendous to hear of how he blinds himself so he can’t see, and then how he cries for himself, the suicide of the Queen, and their poor children who now have no joyful future because of his mistake making them figures of corruption through their incestuous birth.

I give it 7/10 because it’s a good play if you’ve never read it before, but know the story, and you get all the emotional responses to the revelation played out. I find plays a bit dull to read and usually they are quite long, but this one is short and loaded with suspense and emotion. It would be better acted out, as would any play, but I enjoyed it nonetheless because I love a good tragedy!