The Godfather

Just finished reading The Godfather and it gave me a lot to think about. It was an epic book and I enjoyed it. I can see why it’s a classic. 

On the flip side of that, I, unfortunately, thought the movies were much better. So if your on the line about what to do: read the book or watch the movies, I would just watch the movies, they are done better. 

The Good stuff: The Godfather is truly an iconic book. It brings you to the heart of gangsters of the 1940s. The book is gritty and graphic and doesn’t hold back on sexism or racism of its time. I liked getting to understand the underworld of the Corleone family and how it got its start and the individuals in the family. Even if part of the family tried to stay out of the family business it sucked them in anyway. I felt like no character was all bad or all good, “It’s just business.” This book has so many quoteables, some of which I didn’t even realize came from this book, most of which are in the movies. 

A difference between the books and movies: Once difference I noticed in the books and movies where that some of the characters came across differently. For example, in the book, I really liked Sonny and was sad about what ended up happening to him. He was a dynamic character with flaws, but he seemed more real to me than any of the other characters. 

In the movie my favorite character was Michael. He was cool and collected but didn’t want anything to do with the family business, until he was forced into it. In the book, it starts off like this, but his call to arms for the family comes without much hesitation. In the book, he is kind of boring and too much like his dad. It’s like a story with two different characters, but they are exactly the same. 

One thing that makes the movies so much better than the books is the cutting of unnecessary plot and characters. I could have done without ever meeting Johnny or Lucy and been better off never learning of their characters. I’m not really sure why they are there at all. They bring absolutely nothing to the table at all. 

The unfortunate: The main thing that got on my nerves reading this book, also why I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is the writing. I’m not sure if the editors of this book just thought it wasn’t going to do well, so hardly made any changes, or editors back then just didn’t do as good of a job as editors now? Whatever the cause, the book has very weak prose. I constantly saw b for h mixed up in multiple words and other similar mix-ups. And the way Puzo writes just drove me a little crazy. He would explain something, then he would show it happen, and just to make sure you didn’t miss anything give you a rundown of what happened a few pages later. Sometimes I wonder if he even read his manuscript more than once before turning in to the editor. And this happens throughout the book. I’m thinking maybe the rules of writing weren’t around back then or maybe he just didn’t bother to look them up, but there is so much info dumping going on at every stage of this book.

When we finally meet the other 5 families we get an info dump for each one in case you really needed to know all their backstories of how they came to power and what their main bracket of power they hold (drugs, politicians, police, gambling, or prostitutes.)

Also, this book is pretty much all show an no tell. I didn’t really realize how much this bothered me until I read this book. 

I still recommend this book and enjoyed it despite the writing. 

gold star

godfather

Wuthering Hights

*Warning* this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion review, but at least it’s honest. 

When I broke into this book I was just like wow! This love story between Catherine and Heathcliff is amazing. (hopefully, that wasn’t a spoiler) I just fell in love with the intensity of their love story. From childhood to teens and young adults, they just got each other, even when Catherine is being taught how to act properly and they are separated for a time Heathcliff is still the person who understands her.

Heathcliff is an orphan who is adopted by Catherine’s father and love ensues. But there are major setbacks (at least for them) Heathcliff has none of his own money and Catherine is a rich spoiled brat, so she can’t go down in the society pole, instead, to keep them together Heathcliff decides to go and make his own fortune. 

*Possible spoilers*

This is where things go downhill as you can imagine. Three years later Heathcliff finally returns. But Catherine didn’t wait that long for the boy she loved as herself but was too arrogant to agree to marriage so she married someone of her own economic standing. 

She still wants him to love her as much as he did before he left, but keeps him at arm’s length because she is married. One of those, “If I can’t have you no one can.” mentalities. Heathcliff keeps waiting for the Catherine he knew and love to come back, but she never shows up.

Instead, this becomes a book of Heathcliff’s revenge. He has no interest in Catherine’s husband’s sister but starts flirting with her to make Catherine jealous. Also to piss off Edgar, Catherine’s husband. This is where the book turns into a love triangle of sorts. I stopped reading somewhere around here because the book turned pretty petty and these people were no longer the people I fell in love with at the beginning of the book. The way Catherine treats Heathcliff when he returns is appalling. At one point she even tells him that even if he had returned earlier that she would have still married Edgar because Heathcliff was born in the wrong family (that was pretty much when I started hating her, I’m sure that’s when Heathcliff started seeking revenge as well). 

If this book had ended differently, or there were more redeeming qualities about these people I’m sure I would have liked this book, but instead it was depressing and disappointing to me. 

one star

wuth

Captian’s Couragous

This book by Rudyard Kipling is one of my favorites!! I actually saw the movie first with Spencer Tracy. The movie really captured me (probably middle school) with the relationship between Manuel and Harvey. My dad wasn’t exactly affectionate and I was just enamored that a father figure could be so caring and cultivate a positive personal growth. 

Therefore, in high school when we had to bring a book to read, of course, I chose Captian’s Courageous (well one of many).  I ended up loving the book as well, although, I think I liked the movie just a little more than the book. 

There are some significant differences. For example, in the movie he’s like 12 and in the book he’s 15, that’s a huge difference and it changes the aspect of the relationships on the boat. Instead of Harvey being besties with Manuel he is besties with Dan the Captian’s son, who is the same age as Harvey. The father figure switches from Manuel to Captian Disko. 

Harvey’s story is great in either aspect because his character arc is so significant. He starts off as a billionaire brat who is hard to stand and ends up a young man with a stand-up personality. He falls off his luxury cruise ship and Manuel picks him up floating in the water. Captian Disko doesn’t believe Harvey’s dad is as rich as he says and they are in the middle of fishing season, so he refuses to let down his crew and the money they will make by taking a detour bringing Harvey back. Harvey is forced to work with the crew to earn food and other luxuries on the boat (along with respect of the crew of course.)

Of all the books I have ever read I feel that in this one the character arc could be studied in writing classes it is so strong. This book is definitely a character-driven book and those are my favorites! If you too like character-driven books with adventure and no romance, this book is for you.

FIVE-STARS

captians couragous

Carmilla

I’ve wanted a copy of this book for a long time now and for Christmas, my husband finally found a leather-bound copy for me! It’s originally written in French and my husband said it was pretty hard finding a copy, so that makes my copy even better!

This book is about a female vampire Carmilla and it predates Dracula by 25 years. I loved Dracula, but I have to say that this book is even better than Dracula. It is short sweet and to the point, it doesn’t drag out or go off on tangents about non-plot issues like other Victorian stories of its time.

Carmilla happens upon a father and daughter through a stagecoach accident who are lonely living in an old castle in the countryside in… I wasn’t quite sure I think Germany or somewhere close to that. Laura’s father is an old English retired military man and her mother died in childbirth.

Carmilla fits right in although she is strange but brings some much needed life into the home (how ironic right?) Laura finally has a companion to confide in. Carmilla at times embraces Laura, tells her she loves her and she will be hers, and kisses her. Laura on the other hand doesn’t know what to think of the affections, but also doesn’t stop them from happening.

People around their village are starting to die mysterious deaths and no one really knows why. An old General friend of Laura’s father who was originally going to visit with his niece decides to stop by on his way to an old and ruined village near their castle. They find out that his niece died from a female vampire who stayed at their home and they did not suspect until his niece died. She started having symptoms that Laura is now experiencing. Ok, enough background I’ll let you read it for yourself, it’s great and keeps that creepy gothic feel throughout.

This is now one of my top favorite vampire novels. I think a lot of books pull from this one even more than Dracula because of the way Carmilla is so unsuspecting as a vampire to those around her, begging the question is she really evil, or just trying to survive and falling in love with her victims?

This is a classic you should not miss out on!

FIVE-STARS

 

Alas, Babylon

Alas, Babylon is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1959 by Pat Frank. 

What if the cold war turned nuclear? That is what happens in Alas, Babylon. The survivors in a small town of Florida must pick up the pieces and find a way to survive. All major cities in the USA no longer exist. Communications are down, and supply trucks have stopped. Power is out and it’s back to the basics. 

I think the author Frank does a good job at using his imagination about what would happen in this instance, but it is a bit dated. I thought it was very comical that one part in the book the main character Randy is talking to his girlfriend and is appalled that mothers with babies will now be forced into breastfeeding their children because the supplies for the formula might now be hard to come by. LMAO!!! I didn’t realize bottle feeding was such a big thing in the 50s/60s.

Anyhow, some of the happenings in the novel seem a bit far-fetched, but it was still a great read. There are now bandits going around looting and some stupid characters who stole gold items from blasted houses that were becoming sick from radioactive poisoning. 

Randy and the few people left in his town must get back to basics and use their hunting/fishing/mental skills to survive with what they have left. 

If you like post-apocalyptic novels and don’t mind something a little dated I recommend this book.

gold star

alas

Murder on the Orient Express

I finally read and finished my first Agatha Christie book! I liked the book much better than the movie as in most cases. I just think it doesn’t transcend to the big screen well. 

This was a fun who done it tale and you don’t find out who the murder was until the very end. 

With that said, there were some sluggish parts throughout the book. I’m going to try to do this without spoilers…so there is a portion of the book where our detective Poirot interviews each suspect individually. Then he thinks about each person’s statements and talks about any inaccuracies, which feels very much like the plot is going in circles and you hear the same information again, and if you didn’t get it the second time around Poirot has written notes for you to keep track. 

So on top of the book being a bit redundant, Poirot seems to be an all-knowing being. This was true in the movie too and bothered me. He jumps to conclusions which he admits at one point were guesses, which happen to be correct. It was really annoying to me for some reason. I think because it was a pretty well thought out plot, but Christie kind of fell short on the jumping to conclusions part. 

Now if this book was set in modern times and Poirot had a cell phone with full bars he could have done some fact checking and made all his hunches foolproof. I think that’s what really bothered me, no fact checking. Now some of his observations were cleaver and well thought out, but for a big book like this, it just didn’t go that extra mile. 

All that being said, I did like this book and enjoyed reading it. I was fun, and I plan on checking out more Christie books in the future. 

gold star

murder

The Picture of Dorian Grey

I was a bit disappointed in this book, I kept waiting for the gothic dark scenes to happen, which didn’t really start until page 110. The beginning wasn’t too bad introducing the three main characters, but Lord Henry, with all of his long-winded dialogue and bad influence, was beginning to drive me mad. 

The only character I liked was Bazil the painter of the portrait. It got interesting when the portrait began to change, but the problem I find with most of the classics they tend to meander from the plot and you have to wait through boring dialog and thoughts before you get back to the meat of the story. 

The last three chapters were probably the best and the gothic horror I was waiting for finally show up. I find it weird that all Dorian did to get his age and evil deeds to transcend to his painting was to wish it with all of his might for the price of his soul…to who? The devil I suppose, it’s left kind of vague, I suppose on purpose. Overall this was just ok. I liked Frankenstine and Dracula better.

3stars

dorian