The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical novel by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. It was originally published in 1890, and soon after its publication, it became one of the best-selling books.
It circles around the doctrine of aestheticism and Oscar Wilde's role in that movement. He, along with the other writers of that movement, explained that art should not have a political or social purpose to serve, and it also has nothing to do with morality or conveying moral or sentimental messages.
The idea of "Art for the Art's Sake" played a prestigious role in Oscar Wilde's novel, which means that art needs no justification and ought only to deal with beauty. The purpose of the art is to entertain and appreciate its beauty.
"An artist should create beautiful things, but he should put nothing of his own life into them."
The tale begins with Basil Hallward, a very talented painter, making the portrait of Dorian Gray, who is sitting in front of him. Dorian Gray is a splendid young man with a beautiful nature and heart. He is also considered one of the most beautiful men in Greek mythology, like Helen of Troy. He is everything to Basil Hallward because the painter believes that this charming creature with good looks will make him a famous artist. It seems as though he is made of gold and ivory, and the curves of his lips rewrite history.
Basil Hallward makes the portrait of Dorian Gray, which seems more beauteous and charming than his own personality. When he glances at the picture, he feels jealous of his own portrait. He realizes how sad it is that I will grow old, wrinkled, and ugly, but this portrait will always remain young and lovely. As it is written in the book:
"I am jealous of everything whose beautydoesn't die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose?"
Dorian Gray wishes to remain young forever. Whenever he sees his photo, sadness swallows him. He is ready to give everything for that sake, so his hedonistic nature forces him to sell his soul to the devil to get back his youth, and he also agrees that this picture will bear all his sins and doings.
As the story proceeds on, hedonism ruins him and makes him corrupt and wicked. He goes out to watch a play at the opera, where he falls in love with an actress, Sibyl Vane, not because of her beauty but because she is an excellent actress and knows very well how to please her audience. One day, he with Basil and Lord Henry go to watch her play,but unfortunately she doesn't act very well, which makes Dorian Gray furious and disappointed because art is everything to him, so he leaves her crying and in pain. After some days, she takes her life, and Dorian is responsible for that, but he doesn't think so. When he returns home and glances at the picture, he notices some changes in it. The face looks a bit pale, dark and a hint of cruelty is also seen in it. He kills Basil Hallward because he knows his secret, and Dorian is afraid that the painter might reveal to the world his real face.He sees his portrait again, and the painted face on the canvas looks sodden and unclean. The cheeks become hollow and flaccid, and the hairs lose their brightness. It gives off a monstrous look, so he decides to end it up, seizes a knife, and stabs the picture with it. There rises a cry of pian so horribly that when the servants enter the room, they see the portrait of their charming master hanging on the wall. There lies a deceased man with a knife in his heart. He looks like a monster, and all his sins can be seen on his face.With his death, the portrait returns to its original shape and looks young and attractive again.
It is a fabulous piece about the idea of art for art's sake. Oscar Wilde explains vividly that it is not the duty of art to serve society or tell others about ethics what is wrong and right. The only priority of the artist is to create beautiful things and to provide pleasure to others. The importance of art can be seen in the book:
"There is nothing that art cannot reveal or express."
"The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul."
The author warns its readers that bad external influences can exploit you ghastly. Don't let anyone overcome or make your decisions, because it happens with Dorian Gray.
Hedonistic nature is also a prestigious theme in this book. Dorian Gray is a hedonistic young man who wants to be beautiful forever without knowing that everything in this world must taste death. Don't be proud of your glory, beauty, and honor because death will swallow everything.
According to Oscar Wilde, we do everything to be famous, but once we have what we want, it no longer interests us. I don't agree with it because, for the majority of us, money, power, and fame are everything. We desire to have all this stuff, and none of us will ever want to throw it away.
In short, it's a wonderful book and contains some unique and important messages for its readers.
The Stranger by Albert Camus is one of the most widely read novels in the world. It was originally published in French in 1942 and then translated into English as well. After its publication, thousands of copies were sold all over the world.
The novel presents Albert Camus's theory of absurdism, which says that the whole world is useless, and he also doesn't believe in this world.
The narrator of this story kills an Arab in the desert to save his life. He is brought to court by police officers on trial. He is ready to confess his crime in front of all the people and is ready for any sort of punishment, but the jury has different intentions, and he is flabbergasted when officers start questioning him about his mother, who died a few days ago. They blame him for not weeping at his mother's funeral. He might be forgiven for his crime, but he could not be pardoned for not crying when his mother died. He is ghastly criticised by all the members of the jury because he went to the pool and watched a funny movie with his girlfriend after his mother's death. After a few days of hearings, the court announces his death sentence, and no one has tried to find the elicit facts, as they are mentioned in the text book.
"After being charged with murder, he executed because he didn't weep at his mother's funeral. "
After suffering throughout his whole life and witnessing the deplorable behaviour of others, he no longer believes in God. His heart got badly broken, and the existence of God has no importance to him anymore.
The importance of memories is another big theme in this novel. Memories are very important in life, and they last forever, even till death. I must say:
Life without memories is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
When he is sent to jail, he has only the memories of his life and spends his time remembering the beautiful moments of life and the time he spent with his beloved ones. As it is written in the novel:
"I have learned that even after a single day's experience of the outside world, a man could easily live hundreds years in prison "
To conclude, the novel is a wonderful piece of literature because it explores the real events of the writer's life and contains some important lessons for others. That's why reading this book would be a good idea.
I love how books can give insight into things we might not otherwise know. How, when someone "writes what they know" in an autobiographical sense, the reader gets to experience that slice of their life. I'm not interested in fishing—in any of its styles. And yet, A River Runs Through It gave such a clear picture of what it's like to go fly-fishing that I felt like I had actually experienced it. I'm still not interested in trying it in real life, but now I feel like I get it.
Of course, A River Runs Through It isn't entirely about fly-fishing. There are other universal themes, like fatherhood, brotherhood, sonship, and unity with nature. I can also appreciate that there is a Christian tilt to the main character without being judgmental of the choices his family has made. This unconditional love speaks to what Christianity is all about. That's not to say that the actions of his family aren't frustrating to read about, it's just that going fly-fishing is something that washes away any bad blood.
While it's a quick read, A River Runs Through It doesn't need much to convey the author's genuine attitude toward life. Because it's not about the details of actually fly-fishing that reveal how knowledgeable Maclean is at the sport. There weren't any facades that tried to paint the main character as a saint. All the characters had flaws, just some were more obvious than others. An accurate examination of an individual's life says more about what they've accepted than what they wish they'd wanted to be. And perhaps being in the "natural environment" where they're the most comfortable is the whole point of this book.
A heartfelt love letter to family and fly-fishing, I give A River Runs Through It 4.0 stars out of 5.
I suggest the book to people, who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone is the perfect book for those people.
This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. This book is about 11 year old Harry Potter, who receives a letter from Hogwarts, which is a school of witchcraft and wizardry.
This book is full of imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch the golden ball, while he is flying on the broomstick. Then he stands up on the broomstick and tries to catch the golden ball unexpectedly he falls off from the broomstick and throws up the golden ball to winning the game for his team.
This book keeps you involved throughout the book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age.
"Atonement" is the story of thirteen year old Briony and her misunderstanding of the world. It begins in the Tallis household in 1935. Obsessed with fantasy and books, she sees sinister motivations in the blossoming romance between her sister and the son of the family's house cleaner. When something terrible happens, Briony makes a mistake that will change the lives of everyone around her.
The characters in this story are all well developed, but Briony is the stand out in this regard. Her motivations straddle the line between clearly defined and mysterious. She has a clearly defined character, dramatic, self centered, and eager to please. Cecilia and Robbie are less defined, but still sympatheic and interesting. I found Robbie slightly unpleasant in the second half of the book, but it was understandable considering the circumstances.
The plot cannot be properly discussed without getting into spoilers. However, it unfolds in a clear manner. All the plot points are set up before they happen, and given proper foreshadowing. At the end, there is a plot twist. Since I highly recommend this book, I will not be spoiling the twist. However, I will say that it makes everything else that happened in the book unclear (in the best possible way).
This book contains a depiction of rape, extreme violence, and rather gruesome hospital scenes. If any of these subjects upset you, I would not recommend this book. If you are able to handle these topics, and you appricate books that focus on pyschology and character exploration, I would definitely recommend this book.
For people who want to enjoy an intriguing, fast-paced novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the perfect book to read. It keeps you involved throughout the book as most chapters have cliffhangers at the end. This novel is the first of the seven famous Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
The book is about 11-year-old Harry Potter, who receives a letter saying that he is invited to attend Hogwarts, a school of witchcraft and wizardry. He then learns that a powerful wizard and his minions are after the sorcerer’s stone that will make this evil wizard immortal and undefeatable. Harry decides to go after the sorcerer’s stone before the wizard reaches it, but his loyal friends, Hermione and Ron don’t let Harry face this danger alone.
This book is full of fantasies and imagination like at one point, Harry Potter is asked to catch a flying golden ball while flying on his broomstick. Eventually Harry Potter stands on his broomstick and tries to reach for the ball, but he falls off the broomstick in a very tense moment. He unexpectedly throws up the golden ball winning the game for his team.
Harry Potter and a Sorcerer Stone is a good book to spark joy and imagination for anyone, regardless of age. But I would say it is most enjoyable for elementary school students, who can very well relate to the fantasy world. So I would say that it is a must-read for younger audiences, but it’s a good read in general.
Although George Orwell crafted a rather interesting dystopia, the story he built around it largely fell flat. It was apparent throughout the novel that Orwell was more of an essayist than a storyteller; he was more interested in explaining the structure of his setting to his audience rather than showing them how that structure affects the story. 1984 suffers from hundreds of pages of blunt exposition-dumping that disconnects the reader from the characters and plot. While there is significant payoff at the end, the rising action was rather lacking in weight as the main character spends more time describing the logistics of the 1984 world rather than where he fits in it. Some aspects of Orwell's famous dystopian are intriguing, like the use of Newspeak or the new family dynamics, though it is overall disappointing.
Warning: this book contains depictions of rape and violence. If either of these are sensitive topics for you, I would reccomend finding a different book.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is a story about a country that rises after the fall of America. In it, traditional gender roles are enforced by the government. Women are forced into the role of Wives, Marthas (women who clean the house), Aunts (women who are in charge of other women), and Handmaids (women who have sex with men to give them children). Offred has been taken from her husband and child, put into reducation, and forced to be a Handmaid for a commander. She makes her way through the new world while trying to keep fragments of her sanity, individuality, and happiness.
The descriptions in this book are incredible, almost poetic. The charcters in this book are all well defined, and feel like real people. Offred was a standout to me. Though she is the hero in the book, there's an inherent selfishness in her character. She has an affair with a married man. She decides not to help the resistance. She constantly mocks a woman who has been raped. Oftentimes stories will try to make a dystopia seem worse by making their protagonists innocent and pure. By making Offred so flawed, it draws attention to the fact that this treatment is unacceptable no matter who it's being done to.
The worldbuilding of Gilead is haunting. Margret Atwood has said that everything she put in "The Handmaid's Tale" has happened in history somewhere. That's probably part of why this book feels so real. Though it might seem unbelievable that a society could collapse and revert to such archaic values, looking into real life societal collapses makes it seem much more feasible.
I could talk about this book for far longer, but that would be unwise. In summary, "The Handmaid's Tale" is a wonderful, if not unsettling, read. I would reccomend it to fans of speculative fiction, anyone interested in learning about gender equality, and anyone who can handle a thought provoking read. As I said in the beginning though, this book can be upsetting at parts, so judge for yourself if you can handle that.
While we mostly know Jules Verne for his science fiction stories, it's hard to miss the fact that his books are also quite adventurous. Even though Michael Strogoff: Courier to the Czar isn't one of his famous works, it may be one of his best. This book was something my father wanted his children to appreciate, and now that I've read it a few more times, I truly understand how ahead of its time it was.
Even if Michael Strogoff isn't explicitly a science fiction novel, Jules Verne still sneaks plenty of science into this race across Russia to save the life of the Czar's brother. Of course, since it is an adventure novel, Michael Strogoff certainly has a lot of adventure between Moscow and Irkutsk, with some scenes feeling like they were pulled out of a modern action film. The tension of sneaking behind enemy lines to deliver an important message never lets up. I don't want to give too much away, but there are quite a few well-written twists that show Verne's mastery of this "Russian James Bond."
Of course, there are still some tropes that are an artifact of the time when it was written. Cultural stereotypes are present and the age difference between Michael (a 30-year-old man) and Nadia (a 16-year-old girl) is uncomfortable considering how the story ends. Also, Verne describes Michael as this specimen of a man that borders on eye-rolling machismo. Still, there are plenty of interesting characters, including Alcide Jolivet and Harry Blount, who provide some humor in an otherwise serious adventure. If you like Jules Verne books, you'd definitely like Michael Strogoff.
A hidden gem of a Jules Verne adventure, I give Michael Strogoff: Courier to the Czar 4.5 stars out of 5.
Scott O'Dell's novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins, is a fantastic book about a girl named Karana who has to learn to survive on an island all by herself. She goes through many sad and painful experiences, but also exciting and interesting ones. Karana meets many animals, and has to make a new life on her own at the island. I think this was one of the best books I have read this year, because of its unique plot and thrilling events. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves animals, survival, and adventure.
Reviewer Grade: 8
"Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie is pure murder mystery. It starts off innocently enough when Mr. Ratchett is found having been stabbed in his sleep, but the case quickly becomes more and more complicated. Hercule Periot has to struggle to find the true culprit in the mystery that gets more tangled by the second.
The characters in this book are all rather good. While none of them have outstanding depth, they are all interesting and well defined. Hercule is, of course, the standout. His methodolgy is always fun to read. The suspects cannot be discussed without getting into spoilers. Even the victim is interesting to read about.
Most readers will probably know the twist of the book (which I will not be spoiling). Still, it's wonderfully set up, and almost every piece of evidence contributes to the climax in some way. New evidence is constantly presented throughout the story. At times it was a bit hard to follow, but I'm notoriously bad at following along with mysteries.
Nothing in this story is particularly deep, but it doesn't need to be. It's just a captivating mystery story. One of Agatha Christie's best.
"The Call of the Wild," written by Jack London, is a novel set in Yukon, Canada during the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck, a rather large, domesticated dog, is stolen from his comfortable life and sold into the brutal world of sled dog teams in the harsh wilderness. Buck quickly learns to adapt to his new environment, tapping into his primal instincts as he navigates the challenges of survival. He forms a bond with John Thornton, a kind-hearted prospector, but Buck never feels free, and he contemplates breaking his friendship with John Thornton to escape into the wild. I enjoyed the book because I am an animal lover and I liked reading about the events that Buck endured. Subsequently, I would recommend this book to animal lovers because, after all, it is about a dog and his strive for freedom.
Animal Farm is a book where animals on a farm represent the Russian Revolution. The animals rebel against the farmers to try and escape cruelty and be free. But, it doesn't end up going as planned, and things start to go wrong on the farm. I thought that this book was very educational and it was interesting to see how people, who were represented by the animals, can change so fast. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history and the Russian Revolution.
A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, details the account of Frederic Henry, a medic for the Italian army during the Italian campaign of World War One. He is sent to the front lines of the war, and while he is eating dinner, a bomb explodes over him and he is injured. During his recovery process, he falls in love with Cathrine Barkley, an English nurse. Henry soon desires to leave the army and will do so in any means possible so that he can escape and be with his Ms. Barkley. I enjoyed the book because it was quite satirical, except the humor was quite advanced, so I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults. Overall, however, it was grammatically unique and I believe that I have become not only a better reader from reading this book, but a better writer as well.
WARNING: This reveiw and this book contains discussion of sexual assult.
Tess of the D'urbervilles is an excellent book. It tells the story of Tess Durbyville, who's father has become obessed with the idea of their noble heritage. After an incident with the carriage, the family is left in financial peril. Tess agrees to work for her supposed relations. However, this leads her into the arms of Alexander D'urberville (who is not actually related to her).
Tess herself is a great protagonist. She's well defined as a dreamer who is devoted to her family. Both of these traits help her, but cost her dearly. Alexander is a more complex antagonist than you'd first assume, while still being hatable. Angel Clare is a good character as well, he has well defined traits, but I was not able to end up liking him. He admits to not being a Christian, and not believing in all of the doctrines of the Bible (just to clarify, almost all of today's Christians would take issue with the way Angel treats Tess). Furthermore, he openly admits to his parents that he does not have the same beliefs he does. Yet, he still abandons Tess because of these beliefs (that he doesn't have).
That brings me to the major problem. Tess is constantly thinking about how Alexander is her true husband, and how she is ruined. While these are realistic things for someone in her predicament to think, I felt that the book does not take a strong enough stance against these beliefs. If it wasn't for this, I would have given the book 5 stars (if I had the option, I would have given it 4.5). Tess of the D'urbervilles has excellent prose, shocking twists, tragic moments, and great character progression. If you are not uncomfortable reading about sexual assault and you enjoy classic literature, I would recommend this book.
This is a classic book about four sisters who are growing up during the civil war era. Their beloved father is off fighting in the war while the girls and their mother, who everyone lovingly calls "Marmee", tend to life back home. The girls befriend the neighbor boy, Laurie, who they view and treat as their brother. Throughout the story, you follow the journey of the family's lives, mostly tomboy Jo's, from the comfort of their childhood home to each of the girls eventually creating a home of their own.
I think what makes this story one of my favorites is the fact that even though it's a classic, it's one that is easy to follow along with. This is actually the only classic I've read through twice. The characters develop amazingly throughout the story and you really feel like you know the characters well by the last page. This is an amazing book that truly takes you on the journey of the story rather than trying to keep you in suspense the entire time. This book definitely helped me to learn to take my time while reading a book and to allow the story to develop rather than jumping ahead and trying to rush the book. I don't usually like romance books, but I did like this book because when it came to the small parts that dealt with romance, the girls were always encouraged by their Marmee to marry for love rather than for money, wealth or status. This is a theme that is upheld throughout the book and one I think makes this book an enduring classic through generation after generation.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a classic that has a fun story, easier to understand language and lovable characters.
"Robinson Crusoe" is a fictional novel by Daniel Defoe; telling the story of Robinson Crusoe, a young Englishman who becomes stranded on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The novel follows his solitary existence as he learns to survive, building shelter, finding food, and adapting to the challenges of his new environment. Over the years, Crusoe encounters both moments of despair and triumph, offering readers a captivating tale of resilience, self-reliance, and the indomitable human spirit. I was fascinated by this book; if I were to compare it to another book I would say that it is the grown up version of Hatchet (written by Gary Paulsen). I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good adventure novel.
Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, is a fictional account of a vampire hunt in Transylvania. Jonathan Harker, a lawyer, is sent by his boss to Castle Dracula to assist in a real estate transaction with a wealthy man named Count Dracula. However, he is soon not allowed out of the castle, and slowly he realizes the the Count is no ordinary man. Harker manages to escape and eventually teams up with a colleague to hunt down Count Dracula. I enjoyed the book, it was full of complex back stories that merged into one beautiful crescendo: the hunt of the Count. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to expand their vocabulary, as the book is rich with complex words and sentences. I would also recommend this book to avid readers; (as it is a classic) it should be ensured that to be a genuine reader one must read this famous work of art.
"Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of African American identity in a society that refuses to see them as anything but invisible. Published in 1952, the book tells the story of an unnamed narrator who struggles to find his place in a world that constantly denies his existence.
The novel is set in the early 20th century and follows the narrator's journey from his youth in the South to his experiences in the North, where he encounters racism, violence, and exploitation. The narrator's quest for identity is complicated by the fact that he is not only a black man in a white-dominated society but also an individual struggling to define himself.
Throughout the novel, Ellison employs richly symbolic imagery to convey the narrator's experiences and emotions. The use of motifs such as blindness, invisibility, and masks emphasizes the ways in which society seeks to hide or ignore the realities of racism and prejudice. At the same time, the narrator's invisibility serves as a metaphor for the struggle of African Americans to assert their identity and agency in a society that denies them these basic human rights.
Ellison's prose is both poetic and poignant, as he explores the complexities of race, identity, and power. He also addresses issues of class and gender, as the narrator navigates the world of white power brokers, black nationalists, and women who seek to control him.
Overall, "Invisible Man" is a powerful and important work that continues to resonate with readers today. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of racism and inequality in America, and a call to action for all those who seek to create a more just and equitable society. If you have not read this book yet, I highly recommend that you do so.
Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is a masterpiece that has endured the test of time because to its sharp social critique, gripping story, and endearing characters. The narrative is set in early 19th-century England and explores issues of love, marriage, social standing, and human evolution.
The Bennet family, especially the clever and independent-minded Elizabeth Bennet, is at the center of the narrative. Elizabeth, the second of five daughters, must contend with social pressures about marriage and the search for acceptable suitors. The matchmaking activities of Mrs. Bennet and others in their social circle are put into motion when Mr. Bingley, a rich and affable gentleman, arrives into the area.
But Mr. Darcy, the mysterious Mr. Darcy, steals the show. Darcy's interactions with Elizabeth lead to a turbulent relationship marked by misunderstandings and miscommunications since he is first regarded as prideful and arrogant. Austen deftly explores the concepts of pride, prejudice, and the significance of first impressions via their interactions.
Austen's work is known for its astute insights of human nature and prevailing societal mores. Her razor-sharp humor and astute conversation give the characters life and give them the impression that they are acquaintances or even friends. The book has a number of notable passages, including the well-known first line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
The secondary relationships between Elizabeth and Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice" are just as diverse as the central romance. Each character in the story—from the vivacious and witty Mr. Bennet to the interfering but adorable Mrs. Bennet and the wonderfully quirky Mr. Collins—adds nuance and complexity. The characters negotiate their relationships and personal development against a vivid backdrop created by Austen's deft depiction of society's order, etiquette, and expectations.
The book's study of timeless themes that cut across space and time accounts for its ongoing popularity. It investigates the nature of love, the effects of rash actions, the need of self-awareness, and the pursuit of happiness in a culture that forbids it. The author adds depth and importance to the story by sharply criticizing the restrictions put on women in that time period and by supporting autonomy and authenticity.
In conclusion, the enduring ideas and likeable characters of the English literary classic "Pride and Prejudice" continue to enthrall readers. Jane Austen's skill in fusing sarcasm, romance, and keen observations of human nature has made this book a treasured classic that has endured through the ages. Whether you adore historical dramas or simply value well-crafted narrative, "Pride and Prejudice" is a must-read novel that will entertain and connect with readers for decades to come.