Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Reviews: 1 - 5 of 2018

Wow - so I haven't posted about any of the books I've read this year, lol. So these are a few I read at the beginning of the year...
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey was a great way to start out my year. I went into reading this expecting a typical self-help book, but I was happily surprised. This book is extremely intelligent and covers basics that make sense no matter what your individual beliefs are. The 7 habits really are universal principles that can help everyone. I was thrilled to discover I was already practicing a few, so I consider myself on my way, lol. Who knows if any of us will ever perfect being "highly effective", but this book certainly gives you the blueprints to make that happen if you work at it throughout your life. I aspire to get better, and I plan on re-reading this periodically as a refresher. This should seriously be required reading. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a true classic that deserves its time honored status. The book follows the story of Raskolnikov, a poor student scraping by in any way possible. He develops an idea that murder can be justified if it benefits more people than it harms, and he also believes that he is intelligent enough to not get caught. He justifies murder by believing that some people are destined to be great men and no one questions those they kill along the way to achieving their greatness. He methodically plans out who he will kill, gets everything ready, then carries it out. Raskolnikov is then haunted by his actions for the rest of the book, constantly worrying about getting caught. I also believe it's very ahead of its time with the lengths he goes to to protect himself from forensic evidence. This is certainly one that everyone should read at some time.  I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote is a novella told through the eyes of a nameless narrator. He tells the story as a memory of his dealings with his interesting neighbor in his first New York apartment - Holly Golightly. Holly is a hopeful social (more-so financial) climber trying to marry into money. She is a model who tries to rub elbows with any man that might make her rich. The narrator falls in love with her, as most men do, and he steps in to try and save her from some of the unsavory situations she puts herself in. Having always loved the film based on this book, I was very surprised at how little in the movie is actually in the book. It's an interesting story, but the film certainly fills in the gaps better than the book does. If you're expecting a written account of the movie, you will be disappointed. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a story of the future we may inherit. The adventurer creates a time machine and takes himself on a few journeys into the far distant future. He ends up 800,000 years in the future and discovers that the human race has split into two species - the Eloi and the Morlocks. Each of the species embodies a separate side of human nature. The books becomes far more about evolution and analyzing what we as humans represent than any time travel. This is a social commentary. I will say that while the story was interesting, I listened to one of the worst audiobook narrators I've ever heard read this book. It was so choppy that I would have to listen to passages again just to understand the sentences. That made it very difficult to get into the story. I'll have to try physically reading this again some time. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is one of those "Books you must read in your lifetime" that I can now check off my list, but that's the most I can really say for it. I firmly believe that you need to have lived in the time this was written (where everyone had a knowledge of the military and how it is run) or have spent time in the military to fully enjoy this book. I acknowledge that the concept itself of Catch-22 is brilliant, but the rest of the book is full of such ridiculous characters and plot lines that go absolutely nowhere that I just couldn't enjoy it, not to mention the fact that every female character in this entire book is either a loose nurse or an actual prostitute. Aside from a few stories that were entertaining, the rest of the book just seemed pointless to me. I fully realize that there are people out there who would argue the absolute hilarity that was lost on me, some may even thing I'm dumb for not catching it - I'm fine with that. I honestly did not enjoy this book and it was a major slog to get through. At least now I can say I've read it and cross it off the list, lol. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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