2020 Book #2 – Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

image001Title: Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
Date finished: 1/12/20
Genre: Horror, mystery
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date:January 7, 2020
Pages in book: 266
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Deep beneath the Paris Opera House, a masked man lives in silence…

Every night at the Palais Garnier, hundreds of guests sit on the edge of velvet-covered seats, waiting for prima donna La Carlotta to take the stage. But when her voice fails her, La Carlotta is replaced with unknown understudy Christine Daaé, a young soprano whose vibrant singing fills every corner of the house and wins her a slew of admirers, including an old childhood friend who soon professes his love for her. But unknown to Christine is another man, who lurks out of sight behind the heavy curtains of the opera, who can move about the building undetected, who will do anything to make sure Christine will keep singing just for him…

This curated edition of The Phantom of the Opera, based on the original 1911 English translation by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, brings an iconic story of love and obsession to today’s readers and illuminates the timeless appeal of Leroux’s masterpiece.

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I absolutely love this musical and the movie they produced of it also, so I thought I’d give the book a try. I’m not usually a huge fan of “the classics” and this was no exception. I struggled through this book. Christine in this novel is a simpering mess and just was way too helpless and damsel in distress for me. And Raoul didn’t seem brave or heroic like he does in the musical to me, he seemed more immature and childish. And the Phantom in the musical seems brooding and mysterious and a little dark but in the book he’s a big whiny crybaby and honestly super abusive and crazy. The author isn’t alive anymore so I’m not really worried about hurting anyone’s feelings with this but I didn’t care for this book. I think the re-print of it is fine and the cover is actually very well done but the writing and story line itself I didn’t care for.

Link to author website

 

2016 Book #11 – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonegut

610pDdsNz1LTitle: Slaughterhouse-Five (or the Children’s Crusade)
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Date finished: 2/8/16
Genre: Fiction, science fiction, literary fiction
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: 1969
Pages in book: 215
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Unstuck in time, Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut’s shattered survivor of the Dresden bombing, relives his life over and over again under the gaze of aliens; he comes at last to some understanding of the human comedy. The basis of George Roy’s great 1972 film and perhaps the signature student’s novel in the 1960’s embracing protest and the absurdity of war.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (February). Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a science-fiction novel” box since this is a science fiction novel. Obviously this is a well known book, popular for many high-school reading lists. I never happened to read this book in high school so I was interested to read it now. It was… weird. Not what I expected it would be. I said this at my book club tonight, but for anyone that watches Family Guy it felt a lot like a Family Guy episode to me, with pretty much any random thing you can think of all thrown into one story line. That’s mostly what this book felt like to me.
Overall this book left me feeling like I missed something. I felt like there should’ve been more of a point or an ah-ha! moment, but I didn’t find one. It was a quick read and kept my interest but other than that I just wasn’t thrilled with the book. Its a classic though, even included on Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime listing. So I can’t say that I don’t recommend it but be prepared for a good dose of weird.

The bottom line: I have to say I would recommend mostly because this is one of those things that I think everyone should read. Like I said before though, be prepared for some just odd stuff.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #51 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Title: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Date finished: 5/30/15
Genre: Literary classics
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication Date: 1813
Pages in book: 262
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

One of the most universally loved and admired English novels, Pride and Prejudice was penned as a popular entertainment. But the consummate artistry of Jane Austen (1775–1817) transformed this effervescent tale of rural romance into a witty, shrewdly observed satire of English country life that is now regarded as one of the principal treasures of English language.
In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III’s England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.

My rating: 4 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Roof Beam Reader TBR Pile Reading Challenge, #1 on the list I set for myself at the beginning of this year. I can say with complete honesty that I have no idea how its possible that I haven’t read this book yet. I started it a few years ago and never finished it, which in itself is not all that surprising, though it is rare for me to do that. But this combined with the fact that the movie is probably one of my all time favorite movies and that I have at this point watched it well over one hundred times makes the fact that I haven’t read the book simply boggling. Therefore when I was lining up my list for the TBR Pile Reading Challenge at the beginning of this year, this one was the first to go on my list.
I expected this but I absolutely loved the book. The prose is magical and beautiful in and of itself, I was forever drawn into the way Austen would describe certain scenes and marveled that simply the way the words were strung together could give my heart such joy. The story I’m sure everyone is familiar with so I will not go into detail on the plot. I will comment that both Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy evolve so much as characters in the book, it is interesting to see how they grow and change as people through the story.
This is an excellent love story, exactly as it is purported to be.

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book, everyone should read it. I think this is one of the staples of a well-rounded young reader.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page