Genre: Classics

Audiobook Review – The Crucible by Arthur Miller

October 14, 2011 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – The Crucible by Arthur MillerThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
Published by L.A. Theatre Works on October 1, 2001
Length: 1 hour and 59 minutes
Genres: Classics, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Arthur Miller's classic play about the with-hunts and trials in 17th century Salem is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially-sanctioned violence. Written in 1952, The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip. Directed by Martin Jenkins.
A L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Richard Dreyfuss, Stacy Keach, Irene Arranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley, Jr, Georgia Brown, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearn, Carol Kane, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Marian Mercer, Franklyn Seales, Madolyn Smith, Joe Spano and Michael York

I never actually read this in school; however, I was very familiar with the storyline itself. The Crucible. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

This story was based on historical people and real events and was a very authentic depiction of paranoid and hysterical people in a tiny village. Despite knowing this was mostly factual, it was still hard to imagine such an unfortunate situation occurring. This village had laws established but it blew me away how everything was handled. These people were accused of crimes that many of them were innocent of yet they were denied a fair trial and the accusers were believed 100%. This is a prime example of what happens when there are gaps in due process and when local governments infringe on an individual’s civil liberties: chaos.

The scene that I will forever remember was where they speak about Giles Corey and the torture he suffered through. Giles had been one of the individuals accused of witchcraft (falsely) but he refuses to admit guilt or innocence as he is educated in the law. The law at the time stated that anyone who refused to enter a plea could not be tried. To force a plea, the townsfolk proceeded to pile large stones on top of his body in an attempt to get him to admit to his ‘crimes’.

At the end of the audiobook I listened to there was an interesting tidbit regarding what followed in future years that I was unaware of.

‘Twenty years after the last hanging, the government awarded compensation to the victims still living and to the families of the dead. However, some people were still unwilling to admit their total guilt. The town was still divided into factions for some of those compensated by the government were not victims at all, but informers.’

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Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 3 Comments

Audiobook Review – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken KeseyOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Narrator: Tom Parker
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on 1962
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Genres: Classics, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

In this classic 1960s novel, Ken Kesey's hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy. You've never met anyone like Randle Patrick McMurphy. He's a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the ward of a mental hospital and takes over. He's a lusty, profane, life-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and at every turn, openly defies her rule.

The contest starts as sport, with McMurphy taking bets on the outcome, but soon it develops into a grim struggle for the minds and hearts of the men, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Big Nurse, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Big Nurse uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story's shocking climax.

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books. And another book that I apparently failed to be given as a reading requirement when I was younger.

I don’t have much to say about this series as I know the vast majority of you have already read this, but I will say that I was most definitely thrown by the story as I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. ‘Wow’ was the most used word while reading/listening to this book, for sure.

The setting of this story is in a mental institution and you’d never think that you’d find yourself laughing, but you do. Patrick McMurphy really makes this story what it is, he was such an influential character: funny and rebellious and being in a mental institution certainly doesn’t stop him from doing whatever he damn well pleases. The one part that cracked me up (as wrong as the situation was) was following one of his electro-shock therapy treatments:

’…he just laughed and told me Hell, all they was doin’ was chargin’ his battery for him, free for nothing. “When I get out of here the first woman that takes on ol’ Red McMurphy the ten-thousand-watt psychopath, she’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!”’

As the story progressed I got so caught up in loving these men that I practically forgot that they were all in a mental institution… and because my mind glazed over this fact, by the end, my heart broke for them. This is a really powerful tale that I’m glad I finally read.

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Audiobook Review – Animal Farm by George Orwell

October 7, 2011 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – Animal Farm by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George Orwell
Narrator: Ralph Cosham
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on December 15th 1999 (first published 1945)
Length: 3 hours, 11 minutes
Genres: Classics, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Literary Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

 

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned--a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

 

Another on my list of Banned/Challenged books.

Having missed this in my childhood education it’s always been one that I’ve heard so many things about but have never been able to experience. I have to say that I’m quite glad I didn’t read this until later in life because I don’t believe I’d be able to appreciate it or understand it half as much as I would have in my early teens. I remember hearing about this book when I was younger and thinking that it was literally about animals.

I was amazed at how easy a read it was (although I stopped about halfway and started listening to it on audiobook) yet how complex the topic really was. At the start of the book their rebellion against their owners was a beautiful thing and their strength was remarkable.

“The animals were happy as they had never conceived it possible to be. Every mouthful of food was an acute positive pleasure, now that it was truly their own food, produced by themselves and for themselves, not doled out to them by a grudging master.”

Unfortunately, as time progressed, social classes were established. I found myself so wrapped up in this book that when the pigs that ruled and had all the privileges would change rules at random to suit their needs I was groaning and pitying these other animals who suffered because of it. The ending was inevitable and despite the fact that I saw it coming it still left me gasping. An incredible that was well worth the read; a novel I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”

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Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

August 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick SüskindPerfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Published by Penguin Books on September 12, 1986
Pages: 272
Genres: Classics, Horror, Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Pigeon

five-stars

The year is 1738; the place, Paris. A baby is born under a fish-monger’s bloody table in a marketplace, and abandoned. Orphaned, passed over to the monks as a charity case, already there is something in the aura of the tiny infant that is unsettling. No one will look after him; he is somehow too demanding, and, even more disturbing, something is missing: as his wet nurse tries to explain, he doesn’t smell the way a baby should smell; indeed, he has no scent at all.

Slowly, as we watch Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cling stubbornly to life, we begin to realize that a monster is growing before our eyes. With mounting unease, yet hypnotized, we see him explore his powers and their effect on the world around him. For this dark and sinister boy who has no smell himself possesses an absolute sense of smell, and with it he can read the world to discover the hidden truths that elude ordinary men. He can smell the very composition of objects, and their history, and where they have been, he has no need of the light, and darkness is not dark to him, because nothing can mask the odors of the universe.

As he leaves childhood behind and comes to understand his terrible uniqueness, his obsession becomes the quest to identify, and then to isolate, the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.

At first, he hones his powers, learning the ancient arts of perfume-making until the exquisite fragrances he creates are the rage of Paris, and indeed Europe. Then, secure in his mastery of these means to an end, he withdraws into a strange and agonized solitude, waiting, dreaming, until the morning when he wakes, ready to embark on his monstrous quest: to find and extract from the most perfect living creatures—the most beautiful young virgins in the land— that ultimate perfume which alone can make him, too, fully human. As his trail leads him, at an ever-quickening pace, from his savage exile to the heart of the country and then back to Paris, we are caught up in a rising storm of terror and mortal sensual conquest until the frenzy of his final triumph explodes in all its horrifying consequences.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance and the haunting power of a grown-up fairy tale, Perfume is one of the most remarkable novels of the last fifty years.

‘Perfume’ tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille a boy who grew up on the streets of Paris. Jean-Baptiste was no ordinary boy, he had a gift… a sense of smell that could not be rivaled. Naturally he found his niche by becoming an apprentice to a master perfumer who teaches him the art of making perfume. He excelled at this and people were scrambling to buy his product. As he branched out and started searching for new scents to include in his perfumes, his fascination with trying to find the “ultimate perfume” takes a morbid turn when he finds that ultimate scent is coming from a beautiful woman, and he has to capture it by any means necessary.

I picked this book up on a whim at a used bookstore one day simply thinking that I’d like to read something different for a change. ‘Perfume’ managed to root itself so deep in my mind that I still remember this novel in vivid detail to this day; I must have read it at least ten years ago. The story is disturbing in so many ways yet so unbelievably brilliant and fascinating that you can’t help but be enthralled.

The novel is extremely graphic at times but that’s what really makes the story. Highly recommended, I love this novel it’s one of my absolute favorites.

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